tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN November 23, 2011 1:00pm-5:00pm EST
month. after that, republican candidate ron paul is answering questions from the "des moines register." tonight at 8:00 p.m. on c-span. >> air force one stopped, put a motorcade down to the flooded area, took off his jacket. 3 sandbags. he said hello and hi to everyone. that night, there were not three sandbags, but it was reagan filling sandbags with his shirt off. >> talking about the legacy of ronald reagan, new york city mayor and talking about the
opportunities in the u.s. others are awarded a congressional gold medal. for the entire schedule, go to c-span.org. >> a senate committee recently looked into the increasing concussions among student- athletes and the need for better oversight. you can watch that hearing on c- span at friday at 1:55 p.m. eastern. the united states, britain, and canada recently issued new sanctions on iran's energy and financial sectors. yesterday, the brookings institution hosted a discussion whether those sanctions would be effective. this is an hour and a half. >> good morning. welcome to the brookings institution.
i am kenneth pollack, director of the saban center for middle east policy. welcome to today's program. it is a joint reduction of- center and the center for u.s. and europe and bank we are delighted to have you all here today and delighted to see that others were willing to comply with our request to announce the sanctions that may be for. if you go down the street, they will tell you that brookings' controls this administration. our first panel is intended to
cover the iran's side of this story. there are many sides to this story. it does start with iran. the iranians are forging ahead with their program, and we wanted to start by getting a sense of the lay of the land. what they are up to, what they're thinking is, what it might take to stop them, which will ultimately lead us to conversations later on in the day about what is we might do about it all by. bull we have a sensational panel to start things off this morning -- we have a sensational panel this morning. just to give you the quick order of play, immediately to my left is dr. charles ferguson,. i am going to ask him to start things off by talking if the debate about week -- about what we know about the program today. this is a program that has
evolved over time. getting a sense of where the program is is both difficult and very important in understanding where we are and what we might be able to do in the future. after charles, we have kevan harris, the peace scholar at the u.s. institute of peace. we are going to turn to him to talk it little bit about the impact of sanctions themselves. they have been a critical element to try to turn the iranian nuclear program. so far, they have not succeeded. there are arguments on both sides whether they have succeeded in accomplishing other goals or whether we are just around the corner from success. we are going to ask him to talk a little bit about the impact sanctions are having on iran. finally on my far left, your far right, we are going to turn to
dr. ray takeyh, a senior fellow at the council on foreign relations. we are going to ask him to peer inside the black box of iranian leadership and talk about what is going on there. the motives, the divisions, the infighting, all of the stuff that captures our attention without ever having to know what to make of it all. so, with that, let me open things up to charles. tells us about where the program stands. >> it is a great pleasure to be here and see so many people here in the audience. it was a great turnout. this is a such a hot issue. when ken emailed the panelists yesterday, he called me greg ferguso -- craig ferguson.
it is very hard to find humor in this issue because it is a very serious subject. maybe it is a comedy of errors, a lot of missed opportunities to either engage with iran to put limits on nuclear programs or tried to read the intentions of iran. it seems we keep talking past each other. i look forward to hearing from my two colleagues on those points. ken asked me to cover some of the basics of what we know from a technical standpoint. we know that there has been a lot going on as reported in the latest report that just came out a couple of weeks ago. so what i am going to do is do a little bit of good news, bad news, type of reporting to get you up to speed on most of the
relevant point. we know that iran continues to divide the security council and the board of governors resolutions to suspend certain activities. the uranium enrichment activities in particular and the growing concerns about what they are doing at the heavy water facilities in iraq and the research reactor. the focus, rightly so, is on the uranium enrichment program. the board of governors and the u.n. security council has called on iran to apply additional protocols in what is called a modified code 3.1. i will get into those in a few minutes. let's cover what we know in terms of the latest news. here is some bad news. iraq continues to build up its stockpile of enriched uranium.
if it is close to the dividing line between low-enriched uranium and highly-enriched uranium. even at 20%, it is going to take a few hundred kilos of that amount of material to have enough for one bomb. iran so far has something like 80 kilograms. we are still a way between they have a breakout from that amount of material to create one bomb's worth of weapon-grade material. that have also amassed 4,900 kilograms of about 3.5% low- enriched uranium. if they converted that, you might get three or four bombs worth. somewhat good news, that is still not enough material to provide iran with true breakout
activities. other good news. sanctions and the covert actions have slowed down their nuclear program. this is good news from a western standpoint. i am sure that is obvious. such as that of a computer virus that attacked some nuclear facilities apparently destroyed about 1000 of the uranium centrifuges, but these were replaced overtime. that clearly was a bit of a set back. i ran as something like 8000 centrifuges that are in operation and they continued to build up more of these first generation centrifuges. they first got the no-how from tb network. the other bad news is despite
sanctions, iran is still proceeding with its nuclear program although apparently at a slower pace. it determines to pursue its right to a nuclear program. this program has become very much a nationalistic issue so it is going to be difficult for the leaders in iran to give it up or put some significant controls on. iran has continued to proceed with more advanced centrifuge designs. it appears they are having trouble developing many of these centrifuges because the access to high-quality materials to build these machines. some further than news is they continue to defy the board of governors and the security council's resolutions to apply more stricter safeguards than they have been applying. there is the issue of additional protocols. they require states to go
beyond the declared to solicit. date required inspectors to assess whether there are any un declared materials or facilities going on. the modified code 3.1 i mentioned earlier is to the subsidiary arrangements for its safeguard agreements. it sounds like jargon, so let's break it down. it says that a state is required to lead the iea know in advance design information about any facility it wants to construct. i ran has been interpreting the agreement under the old interpretation from the 1970's, in that it does not have to report the facility until it is within six months of introducing nuclear material. the iae says that is not sufficient.
the best way to do that is to get advanced design information for the state to work with the iea. iran also said that it may have constructed of five new site facilities. recent good news is that in october iran would probably need further in richmond facilities for another two years. iran has not provided adequate information in that area. some other bad news. the research reactor is still being constructed, and heavy water facility constructions still continue. this is despite the security council resolution. the good news at the hope is that the iea has required nuclear materials but it does
not have any comments about accounting for any un declared facilities or materials. summing all of this up and looking at what is probably the best news so far is that iran's benefits from staying inside and non-proliferation treaty, in interest in not stimulating neighboring states from acquiring similar programs, providing breakout capabilities in the weapons programs. i think what we need to do is to find ways to keep iran in that system and applied not just an additional protocols by go beyond that in places where we can have more confidence as to what is going on with it program. if it is a peaceful program, it is clearly in their interest to show us it is a peaceful program. let me stop at that point. >> craig. thank you, charles.
it is a terrific baseline. are the sanctions having an impact? >> thanks for inviting me by the way. i am an academic, a sociologist, and ray's work is used to study iran quite a bit. i am the only one on the panel that travels to iran regularly. first,it is clear that sanctions are having an impact. not only the naming of particular enterprises and people but also the outcome is a trickle-down sanction. they affect the ability of particular banks to procure
other goods on international markets. tghe enhe end result is it has n effect on small and medium enterprises. they require lots of credit. the cost of business has gone up. they raise unemployment to a standard. many of the labor process are due to non-payment of oasis. -- of wages. to a certain extent, we can link that to wages. it is not the only reason. in that sense, if one wanted to describe this, of the targeting is not less, smart as we think. there is not a lot of people who identified this as the
biggest problem. both working-class people as well as managers and people in the middle class. i was talking to people who work in the construction sector and build all these high-rises. they knew things were affecting them. -- sanctions were affecting them. they were second pressing of a once. that was not the only thing on their mind. there were lots of other things on their mind. i wanted to discuss this a bit. as these intensify, it will exacerbate it. the government has been privatizing to a certain extent many of the agencies they get targeted by sanctions. there has been a privatization of state banks in the past year.
this has been somewhat a result of sanctions. also, shipping, import-export businesses, you name it. they privatize enterprises and it allows them to maneuver until maybe the u.s. treasury catches up. on the other hand, there is a re centralization of networks through the state because it becomes more difficult to interact with particular segments of the world economy. the state, of course, has to monitor and control things like the foreign exchange, and they have been trying to re regulate certain sections of the economy. this has caused the protest we have seen in the past year to two yeras.
now, i want to say something that might shock people. this is not a military takeover of the economy that many people proclaimed. in fact, i tend to work a bit on the subject and a research -- and my research generally shows this takeover is a math. of the state is heavily involved in the economy. many people in the second generation of bureaucrats and politicians are in the military because they fought a war for 10 years basically. if we look at china, brazil, where india, the state is heavily involved in the economy. so we need to be careful sometimes when looking at iran and experts who work on iran, that some things might be more general around the developing world.
we were involved in the economy and the 1990's, so it is more of a general trend then a particular outcome of recent years. certainly not an outcome only from sanctioned policies. i will leave if at that. >> terrific. there is some stuff that we will definitely want to come back to and dig into. ray? >> with the way i would describe iran's position today internally and externally is impasse. i think there is a domestic impasse and other issues as well. it takes place at two levels within the state institutions
themselves. the presidency against the office of the supreme leader. the parliament that wants to micromanage the ministry's. there are institutional obstacles. that particular impasse is not particularly new. it is sometimes in the press and other venues are portrayed as a power struggle but some of those are endemic to the way this particular system works. if you look at back at the president's tenure and his confrontations with the parliament, the confrontations with the office of the supreme leader, the impeachment of his ministries, the acquisition of his allies, and the famous letter in which he complained about all of these things, that takes place because you have a political system which has some competing centers of power
struggling against a supreme leader that wants to have the hedge of political power. there is going to be some degree of attention. -- of tension. the second that one notices is within the state and society. there has been a seventh of the organic bonds that link states to the population. particularly in the aftermath of the 2009 election. some of this was even obvious before that. it is, today -- i think they can be said for the first time in the history of the islamic republic, where a large and substantial swath of the population no longer eat look at it as a useful means of changing
the system. that was not the case as early as 2009. in 2009, some 80%, 85% participated in the election which is an affirmation of the system's legitimacy because a large number of people participated in the political process. they never the less perceived it as an effective means of in gendering their voices in the deliberations of the government. that is unlikely to happen ever again given the resistance of the system to reform or essentially broaden its contours. so, there is an impasse taking place between a government that is resistant to the popular will, and the will expressing itself in a low ocnflict. there is a wide variety of
motivations over the years. irna's nuclear program, deterrents, power projection, and there realize there is a connection between the two. increasingly, it is my belief that the nuclear program is driven by domestic political factors. an indication of scientific achievement and therefore stimulates a surge of nationalism. i do not believe that is true. i believe that in some sense the islamic republic and no longer anchor its legitimacy on popular perceptions or reaction. this is a system that cautiously defined itself in contrast to iran's national
history. the monarchies, the centuries of monarchies or centuries of corruption and so forth. essentially, the islamic republic is a transnational phenomenon. so, i do not necessarily believe that the program is used to reconnect with the population if you except that those organic bonds have been severed. therefore, what is the motivation for the program? i think if you members of the security apparatus or political leadership -- their program offers you a pathway back to the global society and back to the global economy. you are likely to negotiate your way back to regain economic contracts in your place in the international system as you have known it, but if you look at other cases of proliferation
whether it was india or pakistan, after a period of denunciation and condemnation and even optimization, the argument comes that this country is too dangerous to be left alone and therefore the best way of dealing with the new reality and as an international community in imposing limits and restraining incentives for proper behavior. increasingly, if you look at it, the program makes sense, not to discount other factors are at deterrence or perhaps even an attempt to reconnect with the large numbers of the disaffected politics, but it makes sense as a pathway back to international legitimacy. that is a precarious, quite
risky, activity, but nevertheless, it is one pathway that is open to the regime. in order for the regime to get itself in position, it must endure a period of pronounced hardship with escalated sanctions. number two, if you require having to get bombed as being part of the nuclear club and international club. this program may be beyond diplomatic mediation. the good news is this is a weapon that is designed to extract tribute from the international concession as strictly weapons to endanger the neighborhood. i will stop there since my time has elapsed. i think it is important to see the program changing the
domestic prism. >> both insightful and provocative as always. i want to take the prerogative of the chair to dig deeper into these different issues and then we will open it up to the floor for questions. charles, the question i want to put to you is where you ended up with militarization. the report has now put what position on the table but what they said is a bit confusing. what does the iaea believe? what do others out there think maybe going on? kevan, for you, that was terrific to get some on the ground experience about what is going on in iran. if you could be pondering and answer the question -- what might have an impact in iran?
new sanctions on iran, the administration has announced some, and there is the expectation that -- will the threat of central-bank sanctions have an impact? how do the oil sanctions play out? is there something out there that could have an impact on society that might change the calculus that ray has laid out? you got to the ultimate aims of their foreign policy, but i would love for you to fill in the middle ground a little bit. there is this purported plot to kill -- none of us know what to make of it whether it is even true. if it were true, it would say something about the iranian thinking. the arrest of the spy rings. how they have been handling the iaea. how should we be understanding
iranian foreign policy at this point? put that into a context into longer-term thinking. charles? >> first, let's just remind ourselves what are the three pillars of a nuclear weapons program? whether iran really wants to get a workable nuclear bomb to extract tribute. that is a very interesting point and is very provocative. what does a state need? they need that material. if it can either be in two forms of. either highly enriched uranium up to 90% or more and a certain isotope, 235, or plutonium, and preferably weapon-grade plutonium. so, that is not enough. a state also needs a warhead
design, something that if you send a signal to compress that material into a super critical state, it will go ka-boom. we know iran has done some work in that area and received documents of sources that would help it develop those kind of design's. the third element of a weapons program is a delivery vehicle. preferably from their standpoint, probably ballistic missiles because that is a very symbolic weapon. i think what ray is getting at even if iran gets something like a real weapon, it probably will not use it. it will use it for other political purposes. i would argue, playing off what he says, ballistic missiles are
the ideal weapon. i remember in the 1980's there was a book published called "missile envy." it kind of says it all. we know iran has been doing a lot of work on ballistic missiles which has stimulated the united states and its allies to move ahead with deploying missile defense, but iran is some ways away from developing long-range, intercontinental missile capability so it could strike the u.s. with such a weapon. it has the shorter range and medium-range missiles that could threaten the states in the greater middle eastern region for sure. so does it have that workable weapon design? the iaea was asked to make that assessment. you have this debate going on
now. does the iaea have the mandate to investigate those types of activities? a professor wrote a very interesting piece recently, arguing no. there are those who say yes. i am not a lawyer. i will not pretend to be. i read the article two and then try to look at it from a plain text point of view and icy -- and i see that the last phrase says that a non-nuclear weapon state shall not seek or receive assistance in nuclear weapons manufacturing or explosive devices. seek or receive resistance. so we know that iran has received such assistance. it received a document, a 15-
page document, showing how to make these hemisphere's. that is an implosion device, a basic nuclear weapon. we know that it has been doing some investigations in terms of firing mechanisms and techniques, getting assistance from a certain russian scientist. he is denying that he has any knowledge of nuclear weapon design. he says he was just investigating these nano-diamond technologies, but does it have an application to triggering a nuclear weapon? then there is the issue of is there anything really new in the annex of the report? it is about 15 pages of material. you have to say not really because there is not a lot of new stuff in there. most of these things were
documented pretty well prior to 2004 which is consistent with the nie that came out in 2007 saying that there were strong indications that the weapons program was stopped sometime by the end of 2003. the iaea report was very careful in saying that there may be additional activities going on but there is not really clear evidence of such. maybe at this point, i will leave it at their. >> great. probably leaving its in an ambiguous spot is -- >> sounds like a list of knowns and uknowns. given that, how can we make iran to change its behavior? first, the policy situation in
this country is probably going to be ramping up, unilateral or multilateral sanctions with some parts of europe on board. what will happen as a result of this -- and will make it increasingly difficult for the central bank to require a foreign exchange. this is something they have been preparing for for quite a while. they do discuss this a bit. it does cost a few runs already. you get the bad news in the american press. they respond to this by recreating the tiered foreign exchange system that they had for 20 years so they are very used to dealing with government intervention in the market to direct currencies when they need it the most whether it is in state sectors or industrial sectors.
so, this reminds me of the early 19th century, the napoleonic blockade and a way. the beginning of the french revolutionary war, napoleon had convinced most of europe to block the u.k. bit by bit, countries peeled off. i think portugal was first. that probably will happen unless the u.s. can sustain a diplomatic effort with china, india, and also japan. given sons that they are unwilling to go as far as the u.s. -- given signs that they are on willing to go as far as the u.s. wants. china and india are getting a good deal these days from iran.
that does not mean that it will go way. also, what is the end logic of ramping up sanctions and increasing what seems like measures against thei broad population?t broad some want to put the nuclear option on the central bank. i really do not think the collapse of the bank is going to happen. it is different than the 1990's when you could get a full global effort to block a country. second, what causes -- this is where i might disagree with ray. lasting a lognstin
time. what causes these states to, for their political elite to adhere? in most of the world, factionalism is normal. factionalism is mobile and it is not odd. looking at iran as having factionalism does not seem historical the correct. it is not money or resources'. gauges fight more over these things. if it is a fear. if you threaten countries, all the sudden they find the sense to work together. if you want them to get along, i
would threaten them. then they might along. to do what? i do not know. we have already seen this by the way over the past few months during high peaks of perceived external threats, the discourse of unity rising. is s point which provocatively leading to the next question, if the goal or the program is their only perceived path to international legitimacy for iran or to provide a more viable path, currently they do not perceive it as open. we spend a lot of resources on sanctions and we are going to be spending more resources on sanctions in the next year. we need to ask ourselves what is the cost-benefit of that versus
spending resources on diplomatic options. >> thank you. >> i think there for policy is belligerent and intents but flexible in tactics. you see this play itself out. time is a temporal commodity. what we have come to know about iran's terrorist portfolio over the past 30 years, it has evolved. the initial convulsions of the revolutionary period, terrorist aspirations or global. separatist movements in africa and so forth. that chapter has wound down. in most recent years, the terrorist portfolio has contracted or has become more intense in that geography because there have been made
opportunities made available in particular with iraq where the iranians had supported militias and other groups and so forth. as the law, the level of assistance -- hezbollah, the level of assistance. requiring some degree of the iranian subsidy. it was an intense evocation of that terrorism activity within a more circumscribed geographical sphere. if this incident is true, it suggests two things. number one, that the previous liens have been revisited. one of the alliance was that iran would not target americans or the united states. that red line has appeared to have been revisited. the second one is that iran will
meet pressure with pressure. that if the united states tries to mobilize pressure against it in a variety of ways, it too has the resources to retaliate. one of the pieces of the pressure of policy is that it would yield iranian compliance and recessions to get into n escalon tory dynamic. when you get into that dynamic, you cannot always plays -- pick the place to dismount. if these allegations are true and i ran it attempted to assassinate someone near the white house, then we are in a new confrontational posture. you could see it moving beyond the terrain of iraq or afghanistan and moving into a fairly unpredictable terrain. so it would suggest that this is
a foreign policy that is becoming more aggressive in terms of its retaliatory denunciations'. overall, i think i ran's place in the region is in the short term to some extent advantaged not because of these political transitions but simply because international focus has switched to taking place in egypt, tunisia, syria, and so forth. if these political transitions managed to succeed and establish a more accountable governments, then i think iran cannot remain an oasis of stability in the region of popular and powerful and. -- popular empowerment. >> i think that is a great start. for those of you in the back standing, there is a number of seats in the front and middle.
i invite you to come and sit down. if you have questions, please put your hands up. i would love to take several questions and give the panel a chance to respond to them so we can have some free flow when conversation. why don't we start with you? there should be a microphone coming around. please identify yourself even if i call on you by name. >> thanks very much for a really interesting panel. over the past decade during the attempted negotiations to deal with iran punter nuclear program, i hate to use the typical marketing analogy but it seems like we have been bargaining up rather than bargaining down. while at the same time trying to pay as little as possible.
is there any way to deal with this problem? lower the temperature and say, listen, we understand the reasons for what you are doing but you are not going to get what you want. >> thanks. i want to ask the question in two parts. if one could say that our level -- the united states level of anxiety and concern about iran and israel is a 10 or maybe a 12, what's the panel's assessment of the level of intensity in genuine fear about the foreign policy intent that
ray mentioned in other major countries? are there just two of us that lose sleep at night? are we making -- not a mountain out of a mole hill, but i am trying to get a sense of whether the level of anxiety and time spent in the public policy arena here in the u.s. is sort of typical american over reaction to, you know, the new hitler of the year, the decade, or whether the rest of dthe major countries are sleeping. the second is, ray, coming to your point about their intent
and they have crossed the red line and maybe they might be worse than we think, what is there and the game? -- what is their end game? what do they gain if they knock off a diplomat 1 mile away from the white house? why would they risk more than -- i would just like to get a sense of the reality picture here. >> emily with "congressional quarterly." you mentioned legislation to sanctioned the central bank and whether or not we can expect a collapse of the central bank of iran. i was wondering if you could
engage in that cost-benefit analysis when it comes to targeting the central bank. these sorts of amendments that are in the bill could actually passed. what would be the impact of sanctions that would target the financial institutions doing business with the central bank of iran? >> when i hear the words "collapse" my own experience -- do we want to cause the collapse of the iranian economy? with that the positive for what we are trying to achieve? -- would that be positive for what we are trying to achieve? why don't we turn it over to the panel? >> i think i will stick with the point about bargaining. maybe i will take on what appears to be a narrower topic but one that was of a keen
interest, the issue of the 20% enrichment activities. we go back to september 2009 when we had barack obama and nicolas sarkozy -- i missed the third 1. -- third one. >> you got a name. >> the point was we apparently had a real serious offer, that we would do some kind of swap. that the west would provide nuclear fuel at the 20% in richmond level that would be useful to the reactor. it had been converted some years ago working with argentina to get that enriched level.
this is a reactor that produces a isotopes. this is not any kind of aspect of a weapons program. this is a device that is used for medical treatment. so, -- maybe we were trying to be too clever. we were trying to provide the material if iran would take out an equivalent amount of low- enriched uranium. at that point, it sounded like a pretty good deal. the point was to get out a bomb's worth of material from iran. it ended up getting rather complicated. turkey and iran -- turkey got involved with iran in 2010. that muddied the waters, so
there were mixed messages sent back and forth. washington was not pleased with what brazil was trying to do. then the deal fell apart now we have. now we have got to the point where we have some leaders saying this time we are serious. we really do need that material. otherwise, co-head on our own to make the nuclear fuel rise for that reactor. they might be able to do it. the point as though it is here again we have another opportunity to create an opening, a positive opening in my view and also in the view of my colleague who is here in the
audience who wrote a piece about a month ago, saying let's take those leaders at their word. we do not have much to lose. we can offer this 20% material with no conditions. this is a humanitarian gesture on the part of the u.s. and the west just like the u.s. helped iran in 2003 when there was an earthquake. we did not question whether iran was up to no good. people were in need and hurting. they were injured. we provided assistance. it is a similar situation now with this reactor. it is about an opportunity to have to engagement with that open hand and say what we have been hearing about a lot of sanctions. i do not see ways for the u.s. to open up avenues for engagement, but i think that is one way to do it.
>> in one sense, the history of iran was to prevent the collapse of the state. in fact, we know that iraq -- we occupy the country. one of the wonderful things about iran is we are ignorant to the fact that it has many peoples' because the state never collapsed. i can tell you this. the iranians have been there before. they never will be as isolated as they were in the 1980's. during the 1980's, with the price of oil being quite low, by the middle of the 1980's, they were able to survive. they created a series of mechanisms to get by. the country was forced into
oligarchy of isolation in terms of the economy that had been in iran with unintended consequences. soviet economy, compared to others in the developing -- so the economy, compared to others in the developing world, is nowhere near where it was in the 1980's. i think these kind of assumptions that target the central bank will lead to its collapse. the kinds of sanctions that have an impact in iraq were only possible in the 1990's. when we think about sanctions that work, do not work, you have to remember what came before them. the kind of sanctions that lead to collapse or changes of behavior have been going on before then. where is the war in this case? is there a blurring between the
war and economic sanctions that will be pushed forward? i think i will leave it adds that. >> let me answer the question regarding whether other members of the international community use this with a sense of urgency. one of the interesting things that has happened over the past, going back to 2005, is the way the europeans have a kind of gradually accepted the argument of the united states. if you recall, european policy and the 1990's was something called critical dialogue. [laughter] they viewed that engagement as a means of tempering the motivations. i do not see that as being policies of the european state in the aftermath of the resolution of 1929 and sanctions
which were actually quite aggressive, quite robust. there has been made the severance of the linkages. i think there is a disagreement in europe and the united states about the utility use of force but not in terms of international isolation of iran and economic coercion as a pathway to its moderation. i can really speak about russian foreign policy toward china foreign-policy. but if it does seem to me that those states have considered a relationship with iran and the united states in the larger context of the international system. they try to have it both ways. have deepended their ties with iran while at the same time
renegotiating their international resolutions as a means of putting some blame on iran while preserving their international activities. we will see how that policy plays out because in the long run it is rather unsustainable. as they did with syria. they may offer that as well. i do not know. i cannot really decipher the saudi assassination. it sort of defies the limitations on my faculty and my imagination. the only explanation i can offer is that perhaps, if trure, if i iranians were trying to reestablish the possibility of their deterrence of the region, but i cannot really try to unpack that because that goes to a certain level of mental acuity that i am not capable of.
>> at least not after your second cup of coffee. great. we are going to have a second panel that will look specifically at this question of europeans and other countries and their roles. let's take some other questions. why don't we start right down here? >> from listening to you, it seems like sanctions are not going to work. yet, the u.s. political leadership is painting themselves into a corner. we will not permit an iranian bomb. it seems to me there has to be something else, i.e. a war. do the iranians understand this and are they preparing for it? >> why don't we go right over
there? >> howard, private citizen. the status quo in the middle east -- israel probably has 200 fission bombs and deployed some on submarines. the u.s. has about 60, much more powerful thermal nuclear weapons stationed in turkey. if those weapons are taken out of the mix, we have a nuclear- free middle east and the pressure on iran would be perceived as an attempt to preserve the nuclear-free status ". right now, our pressure is perceived by the rest of the world as an effort to preserve the nuclear weapons monopoly of the u.s. and israel. why do we never hear in discussions like this any talk
about the u.s. and israeli nuclear weapons in the middle east? it seems like that is a factor that should be considered. >> yes, thank you. i was wondering in the review conference last year, the iranians agreed reluctantly to the final document which included a holding of a conference to prepare for middle east nuclear weapon-free or wmd'free zone. part of the preparation of that is going on. yesterday, there was a meeting about a nuclear-free weapons zone, and iran declined to participate. i was wondering if any of you could shed light on that?
>> >> ken bill, my question is we have heard some very interesting comments about how challenging it is to effect policy in iran. could you give some -- give us some ideas where the opportunities to influence this society that is not monolithic? where are the opportunities for the u.s. and others to actually make some impact there? >> great. why don't we put it to the panel. take any part or all of those. >> ken, i think i'll talk to howard and jennifer's point that are related in terms of the larger region, how to deal with nuclear weapons in certain states, and the larger issue of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological weapons in the region. and the resolution coming out of the m.p.t. review conference last year, jennifer mentioned, is there anything real there? is it just something the u.s.
said, yeah, ok, fine. we had to go along and -- in order to have amity in terms of the review conference we had to agree to this but we are not serious about it. i think we should take it seriously. howard raised a very important point here. often we don't really talk about israel or u.s. weapons in the region, and i think it's a great opportunity for us, not shy away from it, but one thing that i'm thinking of developing in my think tank is get experts together and assess what the options? how can you deal with the very challenging issues of verification? how can you deal with the very challenging issues of the security concerns of various states? and not to make excuses for why israel got the bomb when it never confirmed it. it's the worst kept secret in the middle east. or one of the worst. there are so many. we can spend all day talking about that. the point is that they felt the need that when they developed
that program that they were under exy tension threat the question is are they still under that threat? those bombs provide the capability they still need? and we have to realize that nuclear weapons possession is still rather limited in terms of what a state can achieve. if we look at what israel did in terms of going into lebanon back in 2006, possessing nuclear weapons did prevent israel from suffering a defeat in that conflict. possessing nuclear weapons doesn't help resolve the palestinian issue, doesn't help resolve that ongoing crisis. possess nuclear weapons like libya, which gaddafi fortunately did not and he gave up the program he was developing in 2003, it wouldn't have stopped the arab spring uprising. and toppling of his regime. we have to realize that even
though nuclear weapons seem to be kind of glorified, put on a pedestal, they are still rather limited what they can do. >> four questions was my limit. i was starting to forget. i think the first thing -- the united states policymakers in iran should do is listen to the opinions coming from those people who are involved in democratic opposition movements inside iran and the consensus among the majority of them is that sanctions, policy, would be harmful to the internal dynamics of society and the country. and it's not -- we look from here, it is a black box, over the last three years there have been a lot of changes inside iran and will continue to be changes. i'm part of this youth generation. i'm at the tail end. not going to tell you my age. it's not monolithic, it's not a whole youth that acts in tandem. but we can hang out with them
they are quite educated. the country no matter what happens will not be the same in 10, 15, 20 years. so we are thinking again about the logic of the economic squeeze. if the political elite aren't going to change, then are we expecting the iranian people to rise up as particular scenarios have imagined it? first of all it doesn't happen in history. you don't squeeze a country and people get concerned about the daily bread and they all of a sudden overthrow the state. i was reading this book, a princeton professor, about the breakdown of the soviet union, called "uncivil society" it's a very interesting account of the breakdown of the soviet union. it didn't happen because they were squeezed by reagan and the pope. it happened because in 19le 2 all -- 1982 all the opposition dissidents in the soviet union were here in the u.s., getting awards, and there was no opposition movement inside the soviet union. there was a mod couple of space that opened up by the mid 1980's. and the internal dynamics of the
elite had space to fight it out and gorbachev, a 1968 radical in a way, was able to counter the conservatives in the soviet state and that allowed for the dissolution of the soviet union. internal dynamics aren't important. it doesn't mean we can push like a billiard ball from here and expect a particular geometry of international relations to work out. >> i'm familiar with that book. if you accept this thesis you have to discount pavel and an entire range of post-helsinki and i think he discounts them incorrectly. let me just say to the question that was posed regarding the hypocrisy of the american stance on the iranian issue. it's an important argument
because i hear it a lot. i hear it a lot particularly from not just iranians but others. i think that iranian nuclear infractions have to be recognized as infractions in and of themselves. iran is a signatureor to the m.p.t. -- signatory to the m.p.t. and it embraced certain obligations. and if it's in violation of those obligations as iaea, inspection arm of the united nations suggestions -- suggests, there has to be some degree of penalties. those penalties cannot be mitigated or disregarded because there is undeclared israeli capability or united states has certain processes for nuclear weapons as well. i think the case of the united states would be much better, you're right, if it actually moves to double zero, whatever action, reduces its own nuclear weapons through negotiations with this russian counterpart. you're right. it will give greater degree of credibility to the american case, but the fact that these things are not happening at the
face that one would like to see, that doesn't necessarily mean that iranian infractions are not real. and significant. >> more questions. the gentleman on the right there in the center. good morning. >> i'm an intern. >> can you hold the microphone up. >> what have we learned from the economic sanctions that we put on north korea? and why haven't we applied that knowledge to iran? and also, you never answered the guy's question in front about are these sanctions a prelude to war against iran? thank you. >> there's also a question from the back. >> thank you.
dean rust, retired state department. i want to go back to what ken asked and that is how do you influence the internal dynamics within iran to make them sort of choose the path of legitimacy of responding positively to what the iaea wants them to do as opposed to the path of legitimacy that ray mentioned that might actually take them to the bomb? it seems inconceivable, frankly, after 10, 12, 15 years of iran protesting their program is only peaceful for them to somehow think that going for the bomb is the way to get international legitimacy. >> a question down here. we'll take that next. >> thank you. national iranian american council. i had a question for kevin. you mentioned in passing how --
regarding sanctions how iran has known that sanctions increase. can you assuming you are connecting to the black market in iran, could you speak on that more, please? >> we'll reverse the order. >> whether i think the question is twice there's a diplomatic path to, i think, to the resolution of these differences between the united states and iran. i'm not quite sure there's obvious diplomatic path. if you want to look at diplomacy, it's making small, incremental gains, perhaps negotiating fuel swap which is not likely to happen. or some sort of norbleted restraints on iran -- negotiated restraints on iran's nuclear program. slow down the program. perhaps diplomacy injects some sort of restraint in it as a means of something that will
happen inside iran that will cause a change in the regime's orientation. this is a regime ironically enough is quite vulnerable. economic vulnerabilities are perhaps the most obvious and probably the least relevant in the sense this is a political leadership that can manage this economy however haphazardly, and also it's indifferent to the economic penalties that are inflicted on the larger population. it has vulnerabilities in the sense that it is increasingly isolated in the international commupet and that isolation may have some sort of impact on this domestic political scene. it has other vulnerabilities. it has -- kevin was mentioning, a disaffected population, bent population, educated population, there is an incongruity between islamic republic and the iranian nation. iranian pop pewous -- populous are quite sophisticated, intelligent, i would say largely secular in terms of their
orientation because they have to live underle religious order. internationalist in terms of the perspective cosmopolitan because of their habits. that in and of itself is difficult to see how the slamic rp -- islamic republic can precariously glide over the larger and deeper currents of persian history and tradition. they are adverse to one another. it has domestic vulnerabilities that can be expoited -- exploited in terms of assistance to opposition groups so forth and so on. one of the piece that is has emerged we cannot assist the opposition because they didn't ask for it. if you look at the house how the united states has related to opposition movements, you go back to assistance to french, italian, trade unions and political parties in the 1940's, i don't remember them asking for it, but there was a confluence of interest. you look at this establishment during the cold war of something called the congress for cultural
freedom which was essentially trying to mobilize anti-soviet western intellectuals. i remember arthur schlesinger, asking for it. it was established you see in the soviet era with the post-helsinki civil society groups. there is a confluence of interest between the united states and the iranian opposition. the question is, how do you connect those dots? as opposed to shield one behind the notion they haven't asked for it? that's another area of vulnerability that can be exploited. >> i'll answer your question, then. generally inside iran when the perceived threat is highest, they do fear war and the population fears war. i was there in 2006 an earlier peak of war talk. i would say every other person i asked had some kind of fear.
not sure what was going to happen. some uncertainty. it does have an effect. like it would have an effect anywhere. that went down for a while. now i have been reading in the news recently and everyone is talking about war. this doesn't mean they believe it's on the table, but certainly in the population people tend do sometime. so, yeah, they think it's a possibility, but they don't think it's likely there currently. i appreciate ray's comments. i want to just slightly disagree with him on the fusion of nationalism and islamic republic, republicanism and revolutionary ideology. the use of pre-islamic nationalism, the path was used by the slam islamic republic in
1990. they had conferences. the elite changes. i'm not saying that they believe this, but the right in iran, especially the new right, is rather crafty. and ray discussed this previously. they fuse and utilize symbols of pre-islamic and islamic nationalism like they are juggling. i'm not saying anybody is getting duped by this, but it's not -- the state adapts. we are analyzing it, we should be honest about what's happened in the country. and society adapts to changes. and they are not always the huge gap between them that you think. in fact one of the reasons that arguably the green movement failed to a certain extent, i was there, i saw it, was that they did not win the battle of the nationalisms.
it wasn't the society versus the state. it was one particular vision of the nation versus another one. one side had all the guns, that's true. but in a lot of cases the other side has the guns. there's a clash of nationalisms in iran and it's ongoing and it will continue to go forward. the question is what can the u.s. do to help one and not the other? and this is -- it's an important question. it's not one that has any answer. >> ken, regimes come and go. and physics is eternal. what i mean by that, we got to go back to the future strategy. we have to go back to 1946 soon after the dawn of the nuclear age, soon after the manhattan project delivered two types of atomic bombs that the united states used against japan. to help end the war in the pacific. and some of the founders of my organization were involved in
that activity. and they formed federation of american scientists to try to add vow date for -- advocate for international control of these technologies. you go back to the report in 1946, has those two political leaders name on it, it was robert oppenheimer, the nuclear physicist, who was the lead drafter. and he and those who wrote the report realized from a physics and engineering standpoint a system of national ownership and control of nuclear technologies is opened for failure. it's bound to fail. there's only so much we can do to try to monitor and safeguard such a program. and ray's right. sanctions can help delay, buy some time, but they are not going to put a halt to the program. there is a question back there about lessons learned from
sanctions on north korea. well, north korea they have plutonium, apparently a uranium enrichment program. it's a small program. they have been able to weather that storm of sanctions. a very poor country. there have been times when sanctions have gotten north korea's attention, especially when the u.s. targeted the banking, kim jong il said my shipment of cognac might be at risk. i'll pay attention for a period of time. there is a role for sanctions. it's not going to be any kind of cure all. back to the future is we got to get back to what was the lesson from the report is that we need to find a way to have more international controls on these dangerous nuclear technologies. very tough thing to do. we have been -- it's been deja vu all over again in terms of looking at this issue of
international controls. it seems like every five or 10 years there is an awakening, flurry of reports and studies on this. and we do have some semblance of international controls on some enrichment facilities. we see here in the united states there's a consortium, the building of plant in new mexico, the l.e.s. facility. that is abexample -- an example, using black box technology, enrichment there through international ownership. similar thing is going to be happening in idaho at eagle rock facility. so i think there are compaverages where we can try to -- this has been mentioned before to iran. i'm not the first to say this. there is a lot of great work being done looking at ways that you could have multilateral ownership and control of the facilities in iran, still have enrichment, but have greater confidence in what they are doing could be detected.
>> there was a question about the black market. i'm sorry i didn't answer that. especially interesting. one of theringments is sanctions increases smuggling and black market activity which may or may not be connected to military networks. it's been going on for a long time. in iran. in fact like 90% of the cell phones that enter iran, all coming from east asia, 90% don't get custom. they don't pay the tariff. they are coming in to illegal mechanisms. something like 50% of the clothing in iran which used to have a textile industry and does not any longer is smuggleled in. there is a huge smuggling problem in iran. something like 20% of the g.d.p. don't quote me on that. the question is is that a result of sanctions? no. it's a result of the poorest borders of the country -- when i say embedded, it's embedded in the world economy. it used to be the pivot of
history. central asia. it's embeded in these particular networks of trade that it's very difficult for anyone to totally close off. any sanctions policy will squeeze a balloon, water, it gets bigger somewhere else. >> take one last round of questions. >> thank you. charles, i wonder if you could address a little bit the debate over the timelines that we are looking at at this point based on the information in the iaea report and whatever the latest developments are? what sort of milestones are coming up in the next year to two years? how far are we from various milestones in development of iran's nuclear program? if any of you can also address
the question of what do you think at this point is the minimum that the united states and its allies may and partners in the process may offer iran that iran may find acceptable to parities nuclear efforts? >> good one. >> thank you. george washington university, and my question is, how can we have that china will change its previous status rather than employ iran nuclear weapons? give the status of the u.s. relationship, especially after president obama just claimed the return the south to the asia pacific originalon. my second question is, i really think, agree with you, that iran
is a theoretic country. it appears to me that iran is caught in a kind of security dilemma and theoretically speaking maybe we can only offer -- the proper way to get it out of the security dilemma is to let it go. and there is also the claim that maybe there is some kind of sabotage to get it out of this security dilemma. what's your comment? thank you. >> let's take one more from greg in the front. and final comments from the panelists. >> i just wondered if we could get a comment on what you think about the efficacy of assassinating iranian scientists both maybe from charles and whether or not that can slow
down the program but also from kevan and ray about the effect of the iranian people and government in terms of increasing their willingness to make a deal to constrain their nuclear program? >> start us off again. and we'll go reverse order. >> on the issue of china i'm reluctant to offer any advice in an institution that features ken lieberthal. we are going to have a whole panel on that. i think assassinations that have taken place are shortsighted and counterproductive. because it assumes that iranian scientific cadre is a limited number of people. this is a government that since 1990 in the aftermath of the war has invested quite considerably in the scientific apparatus. and the scientific apparatus has
made significant gains if you look at it in -- by the metrics of how many ph.d.s they produce and physics, chemistry, so forth. chemistry is the crown jewel of sciences. theoretical physics they are advanced on because it doesn't require huge technological apparatus. the number of articles in internationally recognized scientific journals has gone up. so this is a large scientific community. not all scientists are situated in university laboratories. they are also in the industry as they are in the urns. united states. i don't think we know the full scope of the industrial application of the iranian scientific community and the relationship between industry and the laboratories of the universities. because charles can speak about how you make a successful scientific community. one, two, three, four scientists getting killed is not going to reverse the scientific knowledge
this country has accumulated. it may even create an espree due core within the remaining community. and in that particular sense i don't think it's particularly productive. it's self-limited as any utility. i forget the other question. i'll stop here. >> i forget the other question, too. >> that's thot a pathway to disarmament. >> productive carrots, right? this is the question. well, so the new minister of oil in iran is a rather buehrle fellow. he used to be head of the revolutionary corps of engineers. i saw him give an interview for al jazeera english, he looks like a true revolutionary patriot. he's unshaven like myself, no
tie. and he just gave a speech, i believe yesterday or two days ago, to an engineering society in iran about the need for investment in the country's oil and gas sector. this is a country that's heavily underinvested in its own sector. the debate now among the elite in iran. he says the country is $100 billion investment. this is the obvious carrot that the iranians as much as they think they detest the west, they really like us. and they want our investment. they don't like the chinese investment. they always complain about how they have to take second rate chinese capital and things like that even though they are using the cell phones all the time. that's the obvious carrot you have to increase the vision of the future for iran as being able to exploit its resources in a way that is more productive than it is now. that's what's on their mind.
and that should be discussed. much more openly. >> the whole question about timelines and maybe i'll say a few words about the issue of targeting and assassinating iranian scientists and then wrap up the timelines. i agree with ray, but i want to add more than that. i see this as just, it's morally wrong, and it's very counterproductive and what ray is saying, we should be trying to learn lessons from -- the time of the cold war and the relatively early days of the cold war in 1950's when there was the movement got started and there was an exchange of views between soviet and american scientists to try to find ways of having a dialogue and trying to find peaceful resolution in some of these vexing issues. and there has been some of that outreach for the u.s. national county of sciences. and a lot of great work in that
area. more needs to be done. i wanted to get that out in the open. in terms of timelines. i think there are a number of things we need to pay attention to in terms of how this proceeds going forward. there have been various assessments as to how far iran is from actually breaking out into making nuclear weapons. i have seen an assessment of six months. i have heard a senior u.s. government official say he's someone who is very concerned, he says it's about a year. maybe longer. what does that mean? i meaningsed in my opening remarks, according to iaea iran has stockpiled 4,900 kilos of this material. if they went for broke and tried to convert that to weapons grade material, that might be three, maybe four bombs' worth of material. is that enough? probably not. i don't know. somehow we have to do a mind meld of my mind and ray's mind and kevan's mind and some other
experts to try to figure out what is the intention. 24 interplay of the intertension of the capabilities. we do know iran is still continuing to amass more and more enriched iranian material. we need to pay attention to the other enrichment activities up to that 20% level. will they go beyond what is required to refuel the tehran research reactor? that would be an interesting signal if they surpass that point, then that's indication that there's something more probably going on than just getting enough material to fuel that reactor. we need to then look at how they are proceeding and actually manufacturing the fuel to that reactor. they may run into technical difficulties with that. if they run into technical roadblocks and they continue to enrich at that level, that's another signal, i think, as to their possible intentions. we also need to look at how they are proceeding with the
ballistic missile program. are they making advances in terms of long-range missile capabilities? true intercontinental range missile capabilities? that plays into this very contentious debate going on in u.s.-nato russia context as to missile defense. that has larger implications as to where we go with the next round of nuclear arms reductions with the russians. so there's a lot at play here in terms of the various timelines and various technical activities iran is doing. >> i don't know that we have necessarily solved the iranian nuclear program, but i think that we have helped to map out a little bit more the inconsidered as readible maze of complexities that make up the issue from the iranian side. i think that the ambiguity we have left on the table is the exact perfect starting place for our next panel which will begin at 10:45. in the meantime we have refreshments for you outside. please take a break. before you do so please join me in thanking this terrific panel.
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> fly afternoon here on dr. span, -- c-span, a debate on the legalityity of military actions undertaken by presidents george w. bush and barack obama. ralph nader hosted the discussion. you can see it friday after noon at 4:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> the newly designed c-span.org website has 11 video choices, making it easy for to you watch today's events live and recorded. it's also easier for you to get our schedule with new futures like a three network layout so you can scroll through all the programs scheduled on the c-span networks and receive an email
alert when your program is scheduled to air. there is a section to access our most popular series and programs like "washington journal", book t.v., american history tv, and the contenders. a handy channel finder so you can quickly find where to watch our three c-span networks on cable or satellite systems across the country at the all new c-span.org. >> presidential candidate mitt romney today makes his second campaign stop in iowa this month. and can you see his speech from des moines tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. over on c-span2 at 8:00 tonight, a discussion on camp ash raf in iraq. it houses thousands of supporters of the iranian opposition group m.e.k., and it's scheduled to be closed at the end of the year. we'll hear from a number of speakers, including tom ridge, ellen dershowitz, and howard dean. and on c-span3 at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a house hearing on u.s. development assistance to china.
the brooksings institution recently looked at the international response to iran's nuclear program. much discussion focused on the role of china, russia, and the united nations security council. and also the possibility of an israeli military strike against iran. this is an hour and a half. >> ladies and gentlemen, i would like to welcome you to the second session of this conference day. i'm fiona hill. and before i begin, just a couple of logistical things i want to run through because i'm on schedule is a little tight today. first of all i wanted to also mention -- this is -- with the
central united states and europe but also with our arms control initiatives here at brookings that my colleague steve piper runs. and as a result of that we also show a word of thanks to some of the people who have made this and some of the research that surrounded this event possible, the carnegie corporation of new york that provides us some funding. looking where the united states and its allies and other countries. iran being one of those rising power issues. and also something that we have, work an arms control. iran is one of the critical issues. something i wanted to mention is immediately after this -- seeing there are so many of those, i want to avoid a stampede to the door. lunch is always very important. if lunch for some reason
problems row live rate to use the fun at the moment. there is also a cafeteria next door. for those of you who can't stampede to the sandwich bar,. continuing the brookings cafeteria service. we also probably having tom dole an, the national security advisor come to give the keynote when lunch is finished. there will be a little bit of reshuffling of security and he will have a few people with him. we'll need to move some seating around at the front. sorry to the people currently at the front. that will happen during lunch. because of that security, we need to be back in the chairs again at 12:50. i wanted to say that in advance because everyone will have lunch on their mind. the purpose of this session is to cover many of the issues that were already raised by some of
you in the audience. what has been the role of the united states allies and other partners in dealing with the situation of iran? we already had questions about the role of europe. the european union and some of the individual countries of europe. and their interactions with iran. we already had some comments on how the role of europe and the european union has shifted. and we have with us today also the deputy head of the delegation of the european union. here in washington, to help us think through some of these issues. and has had a career in the french foreign ministry. and in that capacity he's also worked directly on the issue of iran. he was french ambassador to the geneva conference on disarmament and nonproliferation issues in
the mid 2000's where he was involved directly in negotiations with iran. and he's also worked on issues and advisor to u.n. secretary-general moon. france with a has a broader perspective on this in the european context. we also have questions about russia. and whether russia will continue to play its role in the sanctions issue. russia has played a very prominent role in iran with the russian involvement in the bashir nuclear reactor which has been a focal point of people a tension. and also in the run-up to the most recent sanctions resolution and the big question of whether russia would actually send advanced air defense capabilities to iran which would have enabled iran to potentially fend off any military action against its nuclear program. to talk about the russian
aspects of this we have john palka with us. he's currently senior research at the national defense university and national institute for strategic studies. he has a long career at the state department. he's a senior analyst and director. that would be director of various research programs. letter to russia at the is state he i and r, intelligence and research bureau. he's also the author of a book on russia, iranian relations. that's taken a look at the debts of this long-standing and sometimes contentious relationship between russia and iran and touched on some of the issues we are looking at today. john is well positioned to be able to talk to some of the questions already raised in the audience about russia. last but not least, we have yun sun, currently a visitor here at the cnaps program.
yun is from china and most recently was working for the international crisis group in beijing. she's an expert on chinese national security decisionmaking. that's some of the work she's doing here at brookings. clearly she has on-the-ground expertise on china and hopefully can address some of the issues we already raised about china's role, attitudes towards the sanctions of the regime. and also whether china may use a question from the student from george washington university, suggested whether china might use the iran card given some of the broader security thinking going on in china now in response to developments in the south china seas. these are the kind of things yun has been looking at for some time. we'll start first of all with a brief overview. and we'll turn it over to you for questions and answers and perhaps they can pick upon some
of the issues that were already raised. france with a, thank you for -- france with a, thank you -- francois, thank you for joining us. >> it's an interesting subject of iran. one of international life of last year. we have been asked to reflect how to maintain international unit around iran for the future. indeed we have now a lot of international unit about what had to be done, could be done, and had to be done. it is just -- look at the substance then maybe i will touch on the proceedings. under substance i think the first lessons learned is when you want to keep international unity you have to build a case and you have to build it seriously. and you have to be passionately.
sometimes it takes time. but if you want to get international unity, you have to do it as fast as possible knowing that it takes time. let me just--it indicates the conclusions we can achieve. indication indicates that iran has carried out the following activities. if successful to procure nuclear related materials by military related. the pathway of nuclear material. a condition of nuclear development from nuclear networks. and the design of nuclear weapon . it's the conclusion of the last report. how you build the case. that's how you get contrary to former at the beginning of the century, that's how you build
the case. difficult to dispute. that's the first way of doing it. as long as we shall able to maintain this path and build upon credible internationally accepted information, then painful, long, and difficult we should in my view be able to keep international unity. it will be up to my -- i am confident this will go further than keeping with you. the second thing is when you have the case how to present it. it's very important when you present the case that you present the case according to standards of international law. everything which goes out of international law is necessaryly -- unity of international community.
if you want to keep unity, you have to stick to international law. we know since at least 2003 there are limits to the way you can twist interpretations. you have to stick to the international law and stick to minimumous, to generally accepted invitations of international law. we know in the u.s. there are very good lawyers and we know some lawyers can achieve some which are somehow very different -- conclusions which are somehow very different. we have to stick also with the mainstream of international law. on that one thing sticking to international law doesn't prevent actions to act. if you look at what has been done on iran, you will see that we have had a number of resolutions, six from the u.n.
if i remember, the list, yes, six of the u.n., that's the intent. but we have also nation measures, the u.s. took some in 2008, others in 2010, recently others as recently as last week, but the u.s. has not been alone to act ton international basis. some european countries have even act on their own. and you are such on the 26 of july of 2010, has taken a number of measures ranging from interdiction of trouble to assistance, technical assistance or technological transfer for oil refinery. what i want to insist on that is that you not only gone much
farther than what the u.n. was obliging us to do, but also in the number and everybody, including the united states. you know when you want to act, you can act. and you have known for example between yesterday and this morning, the british prime minister about the u.n. essential, french republic, have taken very radical positions which goes far. so when you want to act you can always propose or even implement measures which goes very far. and this is consistent with international law so we should not be too much paralyzed by international law. the last limit of substance in my view is once you have built a case and presented the case, you have to check out options. what type of best options.
and here i will express to you the conditions i force. there is no better way to international community than the present one. that is -- ideally every month. over the course of this 23450uck lar program which is illicit because it is -- it is because it has no possible goal under military one because there is no considerable goal for this program. it is illicit. we are to maintain the point and make the cost of this program more and more expensive for iran so that the second point nation and people.
which is a great nation. the people of choosing, i think some of your people, this morning, choosing to go -- to choose -- one point we had -- we want to make sure that your -- and if you look at the other option because obviously there are other options and some have to remain on the table just for the sake of being there. but that said, if you look at using them, you will see that correct assessment. so i think this is also -- you also choose the option which is the most not only available but the most commonly seen as the only one possible. procedure, very quickly, you know that maintaining occupyity
is very difficult. -- unity is very difficult. initially you have what we call the e.u. free. french, u.k., and germany. and u.s. and some came from u.s. treasuries, some from france, some from london. sometimes also from vienna, berlin, and usually they are discussed within the u-free and the west in a choreography which is also not only for -- is not completely specific. bending the timing. but is essential that there is unity of use which is merging at this level. but at the same time you cannot do that only within this. rather from start and from the very beginning, with russia. and with china, because if you
discuss without them or if you solidify the position without china and russia, you are likely to face strong opposition. so the choreography we are trying to get to where we are. we are going, but associating very early china and rusha right from scratch sometimes not exact-l right from scratch because when you have an idea coming out you discuss it. before solidifying them, discussing it in the p-5 context. as you know the u-free discussion involve also the presence of a representative of the u.n. as you know this process has contacted u-free press free, as we named them, to discuss
because another need is to always keep the two truck approach. which is one truck which is assumptions and making the price of this nuclear program, but on the other hand, demonstrating to iran that we would choose to cooperate with international community. the door would be therefore opened. and this is also demonstration which has to be done, sometimes it's very difficult to do because you don't -- you think that you are losing your time. but you should always know that you are not remaining it only to iran. you are remaineding it to the rest of the world. it's a condition for keeping the rest of the world aligned. this is regularly remade and it should not be seen as a proof of witness but taken for what it
is. one we have to keep international unity on this side. if i may, just add, because i think -- i think there are some methods of contact and negotiation which still could be used additionally to get slightly more efficiency which we could still do slightly more efficiently, but i think tsh-sometimes i feel that a number of european countries, the ones not participating, are frustrated and i think we should keep that in mind and make some provision to discuss with them not only bilaterally but as a group. and i think the international community also you have the main states we discuss with them.
we discuss with greece. some with turkey or nigeria. africa. whatever. but when you are, for example, tie lapd, you like also to be -- malaysia for example, was part of the story, and at a certain point it would have been good to be able to talk a bit earlier with malaysia. there are things still that we can do to enlarge and widen the consensus what we are doing. i'm pretty sure we should continue working on that. >> thank you very much. john, your thoughts on the russian perspective? >> thanks, fiona. thank you very much for inviting us all to participate in this panel. and your gracious introduction. there already have been questions on russia that were
raised during the first panel. i may take a couple minutes longer to answer them. go beyond my seven-page minutes. i always have to start out with a disclaimer. i am a u.s. government employee, but my comments this morning are my own. they don't represent the views of the national defense university or the department of defense or even the u.s. government. also what i'm trying to do this morning is not to debate the russian position. but to lay it out to you as objectively as i can. so that you understand where rush -- russia is come interesting and what the potentials are to move forward with russia in a unified way in this process dealing with the iranian nuclear issue. so as i see it from moscow's perspective, international unity on iran has just gone through a rough patch that was both unnecessary and not of moscow's
only making, but is still salvageable. moscow was quite comfortable with the situation that had developed since the security council adopted resolution 1929 in june, 2010. 1929's tough sanctions which moscow added to was the breaking of the f-300 contract had gotten tehran's attention. after that, moscow's no more sanctions stand, which the foreign minister first pronounced in february of this year, and moscow's quote-unquote, step by step approach which they rolled out in july, and that moscow claimed to have coordinated with its p-5 plus one partners, allows moscow to do several things at one time. one, maintain the pressure of resolution 1929 sanctions on iran. two, take the lead within the
p-5 plus one on step by step overtures to iran. and, three, repair moscow's own bilateral relations with tehran, bradley frayed since resolution 1929 and the f-300 decision. so, against this background moscow's furious reaction was the early release and furious spin given the november 8 iaea report with no mere bargaining ploy, but it reflect a genuine annoyance and some anger. moscow calls for more sanctions in the aftermath of the disclosure of the alleged plot, iranian plot against saudi ambassador in washington. in the aftermath of the chatter in israel over military strike against iran's nuclear program, and in the aftermath of the iaea
report itself, and its unusual kind of premature kiss closure, -- disclosure, i don't think it was ever put out as early as it was this time, moscow saw all of this as undermining moscow's lead on step by step and confronting russia with a choice of either support or security council resolutions now. soon countenance an israeli strike on iran. just to be clear, on moscow's view of the iranian threat, although the russian foreign ministry accused the iaea report , what it said was juggling with information in order to create an impression that the iranian nuclear program allegedly has a military component, the russian leadership and most russian experts have no illusions on
this score. in july, 2010, for example, it's clearly stated that it is obvious that iran is coming close to the possession of potential that could in principal be used to create nuclear weapons. just last friday russian defense minister told the press that russia wants the continued leafing the kabbalah radar and intends to upgrade it. enhancing the capacity of kabbalah is useful and very important in particular given the iranian missile program. and the same day materials repaired for report by general makarof, chief of the general staff, reportedly included the buildup of iran's nuclear potential among developments that could draw russia's armed forces into a future conflict.
nonetheless, from what i can tell most russian experts do not believe that the most recent iaea report presents serious new grounds for imposing another round of sanctions against iran at this time. . they did not have to be persuaded that iran has been engaged in the military nuclear program for some years. but at the same time they believe it will still take more than several years for iran to be truly nuclear capable. last thursday for example, the oriental institute in moscow, gave as good a guess at this mat as any. it was said that it would be five to seven years, take five to seven years for iran to marry a workable warhead with a capable missile as long as there weren't any outside interference. of course there's always interference. one expert believes that iran will probably stop dealing with
the iaea only when it has overcome all technical problems and has all the inputs necessary to produce a bomb and a delivery vehicle. in the meantime, the view of most russian experts is that continuing iaea control of iran's nuclear program, however imperfect this control, is more important than how much uranium iran continues to enrich. it is therefore crucial for the international community not to do anything precipitous that might cause iran to bolt from the iaea and put a end to any chance for a negotiated solution. for this reason, they are pleased with the decision to not go forward with another sanctions draft at this time. at the same time, given all the publicity and the run-up to the
iaea meeting, moscow is now more concerned than ever over the possibility of an israeli strike on iran. in moscow's deal, an israeli strike at this time could not put a end on the iranian nuclear program, but would for sure abandonment of the npt. moreover, there would be unforeseen consequences, ranging from war, to a new killer arms race. russia does not have a problem with putting more pressure on iran, as long as it is with engagement and not the threat of force and isolation. when the security council passed its first resolution on the iranian nuclear program, moscow made sure it excluded any
chapter 7, article 42 threat of force. russia has been consistent on this point over the years. nevertheless, russia has little confidence that keeping article 42 out of security council resolutions on iran will in the end restrain especially israel, if it goes ahead and decides to strike iran. to moscow's own frustration, and i would say regret, russia's help to iran in the security council has not deterred iran from inviting such a strike by continuing to move ahead with its nuclear and missile programs. the history of iranian maneuvering is just that this is
another instance of iran flashing a enough leg to fend off pressure from the u.s. and other powers. nevertheless, moscow can tell pteron that we saved you from another round of security council sanctions, but you have to be inclined to move, or else we will not be inclined to do so again next march. i suspect that part of moscow quietly does not really mind that these so-called unilateral sanctions up the ante on iran, and in fact many russian companies added to the pressure by deciding not to do any business with iran that might run afoul of these unilateral western sanctions.
moreover, some longtime russian observers have concluded that the sanctions are having some impact, though iran has a lot of work-around options it could explore. given the record over the years, iran can have no confidence that russia will not vote for another round of sanctions if iran continues to frustrate iaea inspectors, and especially if there are further surprise revelations of iranian work toward enrichment and weaponization. will the return to the presidency next year change the position? probably not. it was on vladimir putin's first watch that russia from 2002 to 2006 back many iaea
investigations of the iranian nuclear enrichment program. russia voted in 2006 for referral of the issue to the security council, and supported the first of six separate security council resolutions on the verizon in nuclear issue. as a dominant partner, vladimir putin has supported moscow's tougher stance towards around since the advent of the reset between the obama and medvedev administrations. by all accounts, vladimir putin has grown to distrust ahmadinejad and around in general -- and iran in general. this is likely to remain in place, the matter who replaces ahmadinejad as president in 2013. nevertheless, the breakthrough
and ushered in by russian support is not necessarily irreversible. russian experts warned that there might be a serious strain that would result in a response. and the roll back in russia's report for sanctions will depend on whether iran decides to cooperate more fully with the iaea in clarifying the nuclear enrichment program, and moving toward verifiable restraint and even suspension. on the significance of economic ties, although some observers are certain the state will always draw russia back towards iran, bilateral trade has always been anemic relative to the side of these partners. china's trade with iran is 10 times larger than that of russia's trade.
it is not much larger than russia's trade with israel. everything else being equal, the united states will always be more important to russia. moscow's access will always differed from those of washington and other capitals. historically, engagement has always been moscow's default setting for dealing with tehran, especially on regional issues. right now, the arab spring has pushed forward opportunities. in south asia, the impending american withdrawal from afghanistan has raised the prospect that russia and iran may have to partner closely in resisting the taliban's threats
to equity in the region, as they did pre-9/11. thank you. >> that is an interesting point about trade. i wonder how much of a factor trade is. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. i want to focus on china's position. some of the issues include china's basic position, the reason for reluctance on multilateral sanctions, and then i will talk about how china is going to change its position on the multilateral sanctions from the united nations. first of all, positions have remained largely unchanged from china in the last few years.
if you compare the official whines on the recent tension over the nuclear issue with the official opposition from the last round, you will discover that china's position and official statements have remained almost identical. first of all, on the nuclear development itself, china opposes nuclear proliferation and disapproves of the development of nuclear weapons by any middle east countries, including iran. secondly, china strongly opposes a military action and is reluctant to accept new sanctions from the united nations turned china hopes the nuclear crisis could be settled through diplomatic dialogue and negotiations, and this is always the case. there is plenty of analysis on why china is fixated on this formula. the most compelling one, like
fiona hill, and john parker just mentioned, is the interest in the diplomatic interests. in the first success of the year, iran was the third largest exporter of crude oil to china, contributed 10% to total imports. energy stakes in iran have increased for china this year. for example, the total volume of oil imported from around during this time increased by 49%. the lpg import increase by 72%. china is keen on diversifying relations, focusing on the exports of chinese machinery, cars, oil tanks, and infrastructure projects in iran. in 2010, the total bilateral
trade approach was 30 billion u.s. dollars, a 40% increase from the previous year to read from these figures, china is reluctant -- previous year. from these figures, china's reluctance is easy to understand. there will be a direct impact over china's thirst for energy. it is a key element for domestic growth to build legitimacy and reinforce the legitimacy of chinese government. also, it could further damage existing treaty relations, and the rejection of tough sanctions is therefore a calculation of its own national interest. with china -- will china advocate these positions? the answer is positive, otherwise we have not -- we
would not seem china put the support of prius resolutions. it depends primarily on 3 factors. first of all, and most importantly, the attitude toward sanctions is determine the likelihood of the military conflict. when china is convinced that israel and the united states would not be pacified and a war is imminent, china would except and acquiesced to a u.n. resolution. although that might limit economic relations with iran, a war worse, impacting the oil from the region, and driving up the price for oil. this perception is reinforced in the case of libya earlier this year.
at this current stage, despite the hawkish rhetoric from israel and rumors about an impending military confrontation, china is yet to believe the war is imminent. chinese analysts do not believe israel would launch an attack without approval from the united states, as they remained convinced the obama administration of the top priority is domestic economy, and finishing the withdraw from afghanistan and iraq. they were specifically identify the u.s. is still having major differences with european allies over a war against iran. therefore, several experts from china commented publicly last week that in the near term all likelihood for a war is rather -- in the near-term the likelihood for a war is rather low.
adopting sanctions depend on the extent of unilateral sanctions the u.s. would pursue, and how they might effect china's economic interests in the country. this is strictly a cost/benefit analysis. one is on iran, the financial institutions, and the other is on the petrochemical institution. china is determine whether the cost by unilateral sanctions would exceed the cost of a multilateral u.n. sanction which china would have a role in in determining the specifics. on the top of the list are restrictions of business operations of chinese banks in the u.s. as a result of sanctions, and the restrictions of oil companies with
collaboration's in the united states. the combination lies in the u.s. calculation. the overall chinese importance in the united states would make it difficult to sufficiently punished key chinese players without hurting the u.s. itself, or jeopardize in the broader issue of bilateral relations. that is the cost-benefit analysis washington would have to make. another factor is russia's position. tennessee's isolation in the security council as something to be -- china seas isolation in the security council as something to be avoided. it is generally unwilling to use its the dow -- veto, given the
common interest in american intervention and in a letter was impaired -- unilateralism. this included in zimbabwe in 2008, and most recently algeria last month. before the u.s. security resolution was passed last year, beijing position began to shift only after russia agreed to cooperate with the breast -- west. these factors determine that another round would not happen fast. there is ample ground for more diplomatic talks. the iaea resolution last friday did not bring forth the issue to the u.n. security council.
for now, genesee's the first -- china sees the first priority as cooperating with the iaea to clarify concerns raised in the report, and most likely from the chinese point of view, they will cooperate with the iaea. criticism of the report was extremely harsh, indicating a change from -- on position from moscow would be nor easy -- easy, nor fast -- would not be easy nor fast. [unintelligible] the situation would have to intensify more. this would not happen overnight. i'm going to talk a little bit about china position on iran's nuclear program. people might question china's
commitment to nuclear non- proliferation given the calculated response. [unintelligible] as a nuclear power, china does not want to see status diluted by more members into the nuclear club, and chinese analysts also made the comment smaller powers are not as responsible as big powers in nuclear development. however, china also has competing interests and non- proliferation is only one of them. the program does not constitute a direct or imminent threat to china's national security, which is why china would like to consider the issue under the broader framework of u.s.-china relations, and use the advantageous position as a policy leverage against the
united states. many officials and analysts in china are convinced of iran's nuclear ambitions, however that make it clear distinction between ambition and capacity. few in china believes that iran have come close to producing its own nuclear bomb, or developing a reliable delivery system. offor china's perception the sanctions on iran, they are suspicious. their comment is if the west is truly committed, why have they not done anything about is real's nuclear weapons? this is a double standard -- israel, the nuclear-weapons? this is a double standard. neither israel or in india have
signed the treaties. the natural conclusion is the u.s. allows friends to develop nuclear weapons, but not enemies. hence, there is suspicion that they're ultimately aimed at reaching change, not necessarily nuclear non- proliferation. it is deeper than broader -- and broader than non-proliferation. some comment that it is a sensitive time because the obama administration needs some achievement on hair ran for his reelection campaign, -- iran, for his reelection campaign, and some even limited to rescue -- link it to rescuing the domestic economy. there are more extremists in china that are firm believers of
american conspiracy, and they argue that the current tension is basically a u.s. plot to sabotage the chinese economy by heating up tension and driving up the international oil price. so, these are the views by -- from beijing. i look for to the discussion. >> thank you, yun. there seems to be quite a bit of parallel thinking on the part of the u.s. in both china and the u.s. parent -- in both china and russia. we can see similar issues how they factor in the iran issues into of raw relations with the u.s.. -- into the relations with the west. i wonder how much they pay attention to the views of european countries china is
factored with other thinking -- countries. if china is effected with thinking of the european states. does that get their attention at all, or is it somewhat disregarded? does china think at all about europe? >> china certainly thinks about the position from the european union on the issue of iran, but it does not constitute a primary concern china would like to coordinate -- concern. china would like to coordinate with the u.k., france, and germany, a position to engage iran, but it is not a primary focus of chinese foreign policy on this issue. >> that is quite a contrast with russia. certainly, in the run-up to 1929, the russians attention was
grabbed by the fact that germany was pushing hard on the sanctions. >> now, i think again, russia plays it both ways. they criticize the so-called unilateral, non-security council sanctions, as illegal and unnecessary, and at the same time, when it draws pteron close, they say all called sea, look at what you are facing -- when it draws to run close, they say, "see, look what you are facing difficult there are lots of reports of russian -- facing." there are lots of reports of russian discussions over deals, but these discussions go on for
years, and are rarely consummated by actual deals. some of the oil companies just say flat out we would like to do business in iran, but we do not want to run into trouble. >> i was going to ask you, how can europe deal with china in this context. in some regards there is the political dialogue with russia, but having heard what yun said, what are your reactions? >> and their -- i very much agree with what was said, but there is another angle. europe is not a main security problem for china, and china is not a security problem for europe for the time being. maybe europe is seen as less problematic for russia and china.
[unintelligible] it is not by mistake that hillary clinton and others have been chosen to engage with iran. here we are, and we are up a bit like we were. we have to be faithful [unintelligible] . we are not so much a factor in terms of the economies. nevertheless, economic relations within the europe, not only with iran, but also the economic environment of iran, are by far the most important. so, you know, you hear have an element because economic
sanctions taken by the european union are important when it regards the impact of the iranian economy. all in all, i think we are different players with different cards to play. >> let me turn to the audience. we will take a quick round of questions. yes, the gentleman from the iranian -- a microphone coming down here. thank you. >> i am from the national a runyon-american council. -- iraq in-american council. you were speaking on the tightening of sanctions on the international community, and how they are essentially the only method to move forward. you mentioned other options on the table for the sake of being on the table. can you talk about these
options, and why they are bankrupt? >> can we take another question? the lady in the back. thank you. >> hello. thank you to the catalyst for your insight. i would like -- to the panelists for your insight. i would like to hear on how the sanctions would and that the sanctions on north korea, especially when there are news media reports on the nuclear cooperation between iran and north korea. also, what would be the impact of iran in sanctions on north. -- iranian sanctions on north korea with china and russia focusing efforts on iran?
will it shift the focus? willard undermine -- will it undermined the gravity of the situation, or will it help international community is focused on both issues? >> that is a very good -- focus on both issues. >> thank you. that is a very good question. the lady over here. .> thank you prepar i'm from the british american security council. the israelis flame -- frame the iranian problem as a global problem. i understand the impact to the eu, but the fact is the latest round is unilateral. i am wondering to what extent it might be a problem going forward with the perception of it is the
west against iran, rather than the whole world. >> that is a very good question. you cut it began with responding to the question about the global -- you could begin, francois rivasseau, with responding to the question which you talked about as european countries not included that want to have more of a role. and, the perception that this is just a western or u.s.-european endeavor, could be the consort to the principle you laid out. >> maybe i will start with this question and then i will go to the second question. i very much agree with what you said.
there is a risk. there is a limitation and a risk for going for western sanctions unilaterally. not that it is seen as illegal. they're not illegal. it is not try to impose an embargo by force. they are within the framework of international regulations. it could fuel the feeling that it is the west that fuels the offensive. that is precisely what we have to avoid. we have to keep a balance between both the need of taking new measures, and keeping the rest of the world engaged. there is an element that goes to the timing of the sanctions,
which was in the first question raised. if you look at the timing, you see that it takes more and more time between each u.n. security council to achieve -- first, in 2006, then 2007, then to thousand eight, 2009, and 2010, [unintelligible] it is consistent with the initial reactions of both russia and china. that said, the only consequence i draw from it is that we have to be continually engaging with the rest of the international community, not going to far on sanctions that demobilize the others, [unintelligible]
we have to look at the cost of sanctions. we have to make a calculation, and the calculation is not so easy to make because there are great advantages. this is a concern we have to keep in mind to get on the other options, there are two -- in mind. on the other options, there are two of the table. it has to remain on the table, but mostly for reasons of principle, because we do not believe the iran to date is akin to sincerely re-engaging. the other option is a military option, which remains on the table in my personal view, but
it is difficult to mobilize the international community, but it really russia and china if this option is not on the table, because if not it means we are not serious, and we are not taken the iranian situation forward -- taking the iranian situation forward. it does not mean necessarily either that we believe that there is a limited probability of this option being used. as i said, when you look completely at the options, you will see the third various reasons not to use it at this stage, -- there are various reasons to use it -- not to use it at this stage. there is always a difficulty because if you want to be
credible you want to make the point that it could be used and explain why. hear, the balance is difficult to draw between keeping it on the table for the sake of keeping it, or keeping it on the table to make it a useful tool. then you have to continue working on it. i think we have to continue working on that. it should not be on the table only for demonstration purposes. it has to be there as a credible tool, as an element of deterrence, which is useful to the point where you have to use it. i think it is a bit of the same logic that would apply to this military option. it should be maintained credible, and used as a deterrence, but do not quote me on that, because it is a purely personal view of mine. there are many aspects.
i am not a military specialist, but these are basically the two options. most of you probably know better than me on that, but they have to be on the table. it is sure that having the two options, re-engaging, and the military option -- technically it helps. i will not go further than that because it would go out of my subject and it is not up to me to say, but both have proven useful to keeping national unity. >> this is a good question for the purposes of both china and russia. clearly this is a factor in decision making about the last resolution. there was more credibility the last time around that there might be a strike on the part of israel. russia most probably engaged
with israel directly on this. there was a discussion behind the scenes that got the russians' attention. this time around, the russians do not seem to believe it. as yun has said, neither do the chinese. the option looks like something they could take or leave, and francois rivasseau is discussing that it is difficult to make that credible. we seem to have something of a major deterrents, and not one that is playing in a productive way -- deterrent, and not one that is plain in a productive way. -- playing in a productive way. to north korea, there has been a
real threat of conflict on the korean peninsula by both south and north korea, engaging in these questions of credibility. this has been a real consequence. how much of these kinds of really difficult issues are playing into china and russia's calculations about the broader non-proliferation question? yun, what do you think? >> i remember striking comments from chinese analysts on the linkage between the issues. the first comment from beijing last year was north korea already has nuclear weapons. if the international community did not start a war with north korea, why would we fight a war with iran, who does not even have no clear weapons today?
that explains -- nuclear weapons today? that explains part of the reluctance or refusal against the military option. the second comment i remember is that chinese analysts believe we learned an important lesson from north korea. you can develop the capacity, but do not hide your bonds. -- bombs. if you just about the capacity, you can enjoy a [unintelligible] china sees north korea as being relatively well-behaved. so far, is almost the end of
november. there has not been provocation from north korea. [laughter] >> there could be one tomorrow. >> probably. >> next year will be the centennial and they will declare north korea to be a strong, prosperous nation. china's feeling is that they could have the likelihood of adopting an economic reform approach, so china's concern over north korea has actually decreased this year. >> it is actually more positive on north korea, potentially. >> it is more positive on north korea, potentially. >> what about from the russian perspective? >> from the russian perspective, north korea is a different stage, in more advanced stage, so it presents different problems from the iranian issue. there is still a hope that we can prevail upon iran not to go
fully to weaponization. that is the hope. my guess, and there is still time from the russian perspective -- one point that keeps getting forgotten in terms of what sparks international unity is what is revealed that is new that iran is engaged in? there always are surprises. i have to expected we are going to have more surprises as we -- expect that we are going to have more surprises as we go down the road, and iran itself will spark this international unity, unless it seriously backpedals and starts cooperating with the iaea. >> you mentioned in your presentation that the russians were not pleased by the fact they have not gotten much out
of the relationship, and displeased that they were crossed out completely. >> a lot of that led to 1929. the other thing we forget is that sanctions really have had an impact on iran in terms of a desire by some to try to engage the west in the negotiations. that is how i read the whole pteron research reactor -- tehran research reactor chapter. i think ahmadinejad use that to develop an open to washington, but that fell off all of iran and domestic politics. -- of fall of iran in domestic politics. he may have tried to revive that later on, but everyone jumped
all over ahmadinejad, and he may only be recovering from that right now. so, it is not the sanctions have not pushed iran toward negotiations. they have pushed iran toward negotiations over the years, but frequently it has been the domestic, political situation in iran designated unsustainable for iran to negotiate -- in iran that has made it unsustainable for tehran to engage in these negotiations. >> the gentleman in front? just around you. right here, please. >> a a very interesting conversation. i found a conversation about the choreography interesting. it is it chorography about the tactic. what is the conversation being
had about what would be acceptable solution? france has been skeptical about the idea of the enrichment on iranian soil. other states have a different perspective. are we pursuing a consensus on a tactic without having a so -- consensus on what the solution would be, and if so, is there a strategy behind this? >> very good question. joe? >> i would like your opinion from your national perspectives, or the one you represent, how do you think the u.s. policy has worked so far? how has the obama administration handled this difficult issue? has it been a clever combination of engagement, sanctions, and sabotage, or have they been so constrained by their own domestic political considerations that they have been unable to come through fully on many dimensions of this
problem? >> a question for the back. the gentleman from here? -- toward the back. the gentleman? >> thank you. i would like to ask friends walrus lou -- francois rivasseau if you anticipate the sanctions would be adopted throughout the european union? >> turkey is a factor here. i thought maybe you had an interesting angle there. i will go back to the panel. there are a number of questions about the choreography that you laid out, and whether there is a structure there, rather than tactics. there is a larger question about broader adoption to rocket you, and then a difficult question --
adoption throughout the eu, and many more difficult question for john, about how the policy looks from the u.s. standpoint. francois rivasseau, we will begin with you. >> the policy is good. the strategy a first was the in richmond. this is been distraught -- in richmond. from then, it seemed -- and richmond. from then, it seemed iran was refusing. we wanted to put in place a conclusion. it was june, 2005. [unintelligible] day open the window, and said if you do that i have to jump from
the window, because i would rather die now and come back to tehran with that. then we said all right, we will have the second round of negotiations, and we made the meeting at ground level, so we opened the window, and said now you can jump. [laughter] >> that was the objective, and that was the problem. today was a strategy goal. if we are not thinking about the situation we have, it would not be a professional. we are thinking what should be our goal today? we still officially are on suspension. it is sure that their reflections going on around have been focusing in a slightly more broader way, not necessarily from a european or french point of view, but in a
broader way about how to make sure there is no nuclear program in iran, which is our purpose. they have a right as long as they are in compliance. they are not in compliance with npt, so in a broader sense of the term, there are reflections around how to make sure what iran has no nuclear military program and iran -- program. the other question, which was did france and the u.k. sanctions -- where they accepted
by the the you? the answer is yes. we urge iran to address international concerns and by demonstrating a readiness to engage seriously and concrete discussions as proposed by [unintelligible] the council in lights -- invites new restrictions against iran. two days ago, we said the process is ongoing, and the eu is determining additional measures. so, the answer was yes, we were not necessarily informed obviously of the wording that would be used by the british
prime minister and the french president of the republic, but we are working together about what can be done, and as you know we have taken some additional measures after the saudi plot. we also sanctioned the five people involved. by the way, europe's sanctioned one that the -- europe sinks in one that the u.s. did not sanction. -- sanctioned one that the west did not sanction. we are considering sanctions. >> thank you. yun come up on the question about u.s. policy, -- yun, on the question of u.s. policy, how effective does it look from the
perspective of china? >> first of all, they see that has a certain flavor of been delivered in the sense that it cooks up the tension. resolution 1929 was passed last year, and china was -- surprised might be too big a word, but so soon this issue came back again, and just like russia there is a sense of anger from the chinese perspective. if you look at the comments from chinese analysts, they do identify a linkage between the iaea report, and they also point out that in some of the wikileaks tables that have been identified -- cables that have been identified, the issue is the same as the united states. there is this position from china that the current tension
was deliberately broad opt. -- brought up. on the issue of a successful solution, china position was we agree on the goal of not having a iran have nuclear weapons, but we disagree with the approach. the western world wants sanctions, and china does not agree. they want dialogue. corresponding comments are "you like democracy, right?" this is democracy. consensus and the solution is exactly because there is no consensus on the solution. everyone is focused on the tactics. that is the reality. >> so, the answer is probably that the u.s. policy is not seen in the same terms as we are
obviously thinking. it is not effective from the chinese perspective because they see something behind the policy moves at all times. >> china also emphasizes that these sanctions have not worked and it will not work. >> how different is the russian view? >> i think in general moscow has been pretty pleased with washington's iran policy since the obama administration came in. it has only been in the last six weeks, really since the surfacing of this alleged plot against the saudi ambassador, and then after that the early surfacing of the iaea report, that moscow has been on happy with what we are doing. the feeling -- unhappy with what
we are doing. the feeling i get is that they felt they were being rolled without being consulted. the russian foreign ministry statement almost flat out said that someone is out there to undermine russia's role in this whole process. by the time obama and medvedev met in honolulu, they seemed to smooth things out, and russia got and iaea board of governor'' statement that it liked. it both mentioned all of p sailings and international concerns, and also had a sentence or two on iran reaching back to the iaea, trying to deal with inspectors, suggesting maybe they're turning the corner on it now. on the sanctions, again, in a
sense, russia can have its cake and eat it, too. it would prefer that all these sanctions would be approved in the security council, and therefore subject to russian the vetoes, but on the sanction of the issue of sanctions, we have had some money route -- on the issues of sanctions, we have had so many rounds that russia got used to it, and it just points at them when it deals with iran to say listen, you're just asking for it, this stuff will not stop. come play ball. fess up. work with the iaea. >> let me take it will more questions quickly. -- two more questions quickly. i'm sorry, we have to move into
the launch. >> i am derek mitchell. i write the mitchell reports. i want to ask the question this way -- surely we will hear from the national security adviser from the obama administration. presumably, is the subject was what to do about new zealand, he would not spare an hour. >> did we miss something on the new zealand? [laughter] >> perhaps you will talk about it. one can assume that on mr. tom donilon's short list, iran is right near the top. what i want to ask you it is if we all imagine that every monday morning his counterparts in russia, china, france and germany held a five-minute phone conversation to compare their short list, the 3 or four things
they worry about every day and most nights -- the first part of the question is is iran on everyone's short list or not, and b , what are the three are four things they worry about every day? >> that was similar to another question about overreacting when we have not gone a descendant of answer. -- not gotten a definitive answer on that. >> my question was about china. china plays an important role, and especially in the robust relationship they have with iran economically. they also have an economic relationship with israel. i do not think it is as robust as it is with the u.s., but why
has china not place stronger role in -- not played a stronger role in been a major negotiator with israel and pteron, given that they're more neutral in this situation? >> that is a very good question. more broadly, you could play this out in the middle east. china has important interests not just in energy from iran itself, but from the golf more broadly. -- gulf more broadly. possibly when you answer that question you can factor in how china considers those relationships. if we could turn to the panel now, you could also give other thoughts on things you might not have been able to get across, then we will wrap up for the launch. yun, on this question of china
-- >> first of all, the question about whether the three core four priorities -- or four priorities, on the top of the issue is domestic issues. that is always more important than international issues unless there is an eminent war on the chinese border. for foreign policy, it is always the united states. it is the u.s., the u.s., and the u.s.. for example, in the past two weeks, china has been immersed, or completely of sort -- of in the u.s. interest in south asia.
what the u.s. is doing with australian countries and a pact was seen as the u.s. tried to consolidate relationships to come back to southeast asia to encircle and contain china. so, i would say the u.s. is china national security -- china's national security priority always. china, for a long list -- longest terms thinks about starting from reform and opening up. china does not see itself as a global power, and gradually they are developing a global reach. they are having all sorts of
problems in global engagement in africa, southeast asia, and other continents as well. so, for china, the priority first of all is domestic, secondly china's periphery, and then the u.s.. although china regards the middle east as grand periphery, it is not china's core national security interest. that explains why china does not want to get too involved in the middle east because china wants to keep its outsider role rather than getting hands dirty. if it does get into negotiations how is china going to pick a side? for china, the best strategy is to leave the nest to the united states and western countries who would love to get involved in this whole mess and we will move quietly and develop and
reinforce our economic and political relations with all the countries in the region. it is a strategic choice. >> did any of the events of the arabs bring change that? obviously, china tried to stay away but also got criticism for not making a decision. >> the impact of that arab spring on the chinese government is domestic politics, whether it is going to threaten china are there is also the japanese spring which raised some headaches with senior leaders. china will have to at least think about developing better relations with the opposition in these countries because domestic
politics are so unpredictable. china always pick a side with the government, like with libya. some day when there is a change of government within the country and china's national interests cannot be protected. the lessons learned from of libya case is how to have better relations with different factions, different political players. rather a bridle, regional perspective. >> if on china, i agree, when i discuss with my colleagues at the un, they say the interest of china are better served by remaining a political. we don't want to be involved in the mess of something not at the
core of our interests. they always [unintelligible] and we have to be a leading the approach and for iran, it is up to russia and nato. this is a very clear concept. on what is on the mind of european leaders, i can speak only -- you spoke about foreign ministers, but the issues always at the top of this is the middle east peace process. it's probably the most difficult issue [unintelligible]
>> i don't think moscow is on the short list, but it is our interest in iran and israel's interest in iran. that bumps the problem up several notches in the list of priorities moscow has to worry about. in general, i would like to make the point that in moscow, it used to be they thought the problem in dealing with iran was the conflict between the u.s. and iran that we could not sort it out, but especially over the mahmoud ahmadinejad years. most analysts think the problem is in to run itself and in that nature of iranian domestic
politics. there is no way to get a consensus to do a deal with the west, given the viciousness of the politics. mahmoud ahmadinejad has tried it once or twice to run with the ball and has been cut off at the knees by all of his opponents within the various factions on his right and his left. >> russia does not necessarily blame the u.s. at this point? >> not at all. >> that is certainly something to work with. i think we better conclude this panel so you can get back to your seats. we've got half an hour now. thank you very much and we will see you back here. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> friday afternoon on c-span, a debate on the legality of military actions undertaken by presidents george w. bush and barack obama. ralph nader and the center for the study of responsive law hosted the discussion. you can see a friday afternoon at 4:00 eastern on c-span. >> in the name of the greatest people that have ever trod the earth, i draw the line in the best and tosses that gauntlet before the feet of the tyranny and i say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever. >> for most of his life, and george wallace was outspoken and ran for president four times and lost.
one of those efforts cut share -- cut short by an assassination attempt. from the muck memories -- from the mansion in montgomery alabama, that live on c-span. >> beginning tonight at 8:00, see comments from two republican presidential candidates. first, mitt romney making his second campaign stop and iowa. after that, ron paul is answering questions from the "register" opinion board. president obama's national security adviser says new sanctions on iran have left the country more isolated than ever. the national security adviser spoke about grandpa's nuclear program yesterday at the brookings institution. this is about 45 minutes.
tom's you know, responsibilities are global. he has just come back and is no doubt fighting jet lag from a nine-day, 3-country trip to asia, during which he conducted, along with the president, numerous bilateral conversations touching on the relations between the u.s. and 20 other countries. his title features the words national security. that means there is particular focus coming from him and his
office on that issue how to prevent the proliferation of dangerous nuclear technology in general and how to deal with the iranian threat in particular. this is a set of issues that has received a great deal of attention, public, official, and international, just in the last couple of weeks. the international atomic energy agency put out an important and disturbing report a couple of weeks ago. the board passed an important resolution late last week and new measures were announced by the united states and canada just yesterday. a number of years here in the room participated in the discussion with two excellent panels during the course of the morning.
we're very grateful to tom for finding time in his very busy schedule to come and to give us an authoritative update on the view from the white house. he has very little time to be with the santa needs to get back to a series of urgent meetings and immediately after he finishes talking. without further ado, i will turn up the lectern over to him and thank him for being with us this afternoon. [applause] >> is terrific to see 70 frontier. i don't get out of what these days. for all of you i have not seen in a while, i apologize and hope to see you. i am just back from the president's trip to asia where
it was a landmark trip where we toe engaged -- i'm going take the opportunity -- we were engaged in a fundamental reorganization of global policy and we were able to execute on each and every element of that. i would love to talk about that at some point. it was a terrific trip. thank you for your introduction, your friendship and leadership and your years of distinguished public service as well and to steve, thank you for inviting me. i want to reflect for a minute or so on the role of places like prickings from the perspective of a policy maker. fairly deep inside and
administration. the sentiment i want to express is one of -- this is essential relationship between policy makers and those who provide fresh, pragmatic and affective intellectual capital. it could not be more important. is very easy with a press of business to get on a certain policy past and not have the kind of fresh thinking that is necessary. i see many people around the room on whose work i have relied who have had an impact on the thinking in the administration and an impact on policy. one of the core policies president obama has pursued has been in the proliferation and nuclear area. the topic and going to address today's court to that, a
fundamental affirmative agenda of the obama administration to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of nuclear weapons in the world today. today, iran is our topic and it really could not be more timely. in recent weeks, there has been no shortage of reminders of the seriousness of the threat posed by the iranian nuclear threat, especially the recent report and have the choices made by the iranian regime has resulted in deep global isolation. i know you have been through a number of technical topics but i would like to pull back and say some things i know folks here do not entirely agree with analytically but i want to lay out what i think of overall impact has been as the result of u.s. policy with respect to iran over the last three years.
i would like to put these developments in context. specifically, i want to discuss how the policies of the u.s. and the community has pushed on iran and its failure to meet its core obligations and how profoundly the oranian regime has been isolated globally. i will get into this in some detail of the course of my talk. it is important to reflect on their reality we face in january of 2009. tehran believed in many in the region believed that iran was ascendant and the iranian regime did not face at that point significant challenges to its legitimacy. that would change over 2009 pretty substantially. grandpa's reached seems to have expanded in the region, actively threatening others across the region.
there was a deep sense that the threat of iran, talking to counterparts are on the world as we came into office. in contrast, the international community was divided. multilateral diplomacy had stalled. american diplomacy, direct american diplomacy has seemingly been taken off the table. as i go through this, you will find me checking myself on this because i want to go through carefully and test every assertion i make for precision because i think it is important to speak about this with precision. during that time, and iran when from having a 100 centrifuges for enriching uranium to more than 5000 when president obama took office in 2009. many in the world had begun to
give the benefit of the doubt to the iranians and blamed the united states for tensions, allowing iran to escape accountability for its intransigence. this was a dangerous dynamic we were determined to alter when we came into office. the a demonstration has always been clear up the dangers of iran's nuclear program. it is a grave threat to the security of the united states and to the world. a nuclear-armed iran would mean an arms race. characterized by volatility, conflict and a high degree of potential miscalculations. a nuclear-armed iran could embolden terrorists and constitute a threat to the region, including to israel. it would pose a significant threat to vital shipping lanes of the persian gulf and strategic straits.
iran -- and iran armed with nuclear weapons, a long-range missiles to deliver the would pose a serious threat to nations outside the region, including nato allies and pose a challenge to the nonproliferation treaty. the cornerstone to the regime -- this would raise fundamental questions about the international community's ability to stop that and would lead to more proliferation. president obama has been unequivocal with respect to the program. he says "there should be about the united states and enter national community are determined to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. those are the president's words and that is the policy of the united states.
shortly after taking office, we presented iran with ed genuine opportunity for dialogue. the united states and our partners presented to run with a clear choice. but still your international obligations, achieve greater security and prosperity for iran and its people, and allow iran to return to its rightful place in the community of nations and pursue it worth the future or to iran can continue down the path of flooding responsibility and face greater pressure and isolation. the purpose of the offer had two dimensions. first, it was a sincere offer of dialogue to a engage in a diplomatic approach and potential solution to the problem. it had tangible benefits -- would attempt to seal the deal with the -- in a diplomatic fashion. this has been accurately
described by several writers. second, we knew if our offer was rejected, iran's failure to meet its international obligations would be exposed to the entire world. the burden would shift and the international community would see it is iran that was responsible for the impasse. that in turn would increase the ability of the united states to mobilize support for holding teheran accountable for its behavior. over the past three years, that is exactly what has happened. we have gained more leverage in terms of our ability to hold iran accountable as a result of its refusal to engage with say sincere offer of diplomatic dialogue to address that issue. the iranian government repeatedly rejected the offer for a credible dialogue and rejected substantial economic
and scientific incentives. we can go into the details. it forged ahead with its program, ignored its commitment and continued to defy the security council resolutions. moreover, iran is a continued a record of to see that has spanned 30 years. most recently with the secret enrichment facility which the united states, the night kingdom and france exposed in 2009. that was a critical step to have taken. the whistle was blown on a covert facility which did not allow ran to have that as an option. indeed -- and this is quite critical, iran is the only member not able to convince the un security council and the international community that is program is for peaceful
purposes. that is an important point to a _. they are the only nation unable to convince the international community of the peaceful purpose of its program, despite its protests. it's deceit has continued to raise questions and doubts and this culminated in the report which talked about earlier. the united states has done exactly what we said we would do. we are steadily increasing the pressure on the iranian regime and have raised the cost of its intransigence. the approach has been multidimensional and has included five distinct yet mutually reenforcing lines of action. one -- we have led the way in organizing an impressive array of sanctions and succeeded in delaying the iranian nuclear program. second, we have led a concerted effort to isolate iran
diplomatically as never before. third, we have worked with partners to counter the efforts to destabilize the region during the era spring. fourth, we have steadily and substantially invested in and deepen our defense partnership in the region, building a robust regional security architecture that blunts their ability to threaten and colors its neighbor, especially our gulf partners. we have enhanced our significant and enduring force presence in their region and worked to develop a network of air and missile defenses, shared early-warning, improved -- expanded programs to build capacity and increased efforts to harden and protect our partners critical infrastructure. these efforts reassure our partners and i have been deeply
involved in the senate has been critically important in terms of reassurance. this step demonstrates to teheran that any attempt to dominate the region will be futile and they show that a united states is prepared for any contingency. i would at our new missile defense program with their european allies is more effectively geared to protecting data allies from the growing missile threat we face over the next decade. it has a lot of advantages and as the topic of the other session here. it is precisely geared to the threat and we are successfully implementing in europe. all of the european countries have signed on and turkey agreed to host a forum radar. it can be done in a timely way.
finally, even as we keep the door open for diplomacy, president obama said as recently as last week that we are not taking any options off the table in pursuit of our basic objective. this multi dimensional, simultaneous and reenforcing approach has put us in a position where we can employ a full range of options as we ratchet up pressure for its continued choice to flout its obligations. with respect to the first element, we have succeeded in imposing the strongest sanctions on the iranian regime to date. we work with the congress to write and the president to sign the comprehensive divestment act combined with passed measures and we subject them to the toughest sanctions ever. we have used the various authorities to get international firms out of their oil fields
and out of their banking sector. we have succeeded in building a broad and deep international coalition to hold irradicable. president obama personally and is repeatedly a gauged with foreign counterparts including leaders of russia and china. this paved the way for passage of the un security council resolution which helped create the most comprehensive international sanctions against iran to date. we've worked with allies and partners to build on the sanctions with the un security council as a base. the european union imposed strong measures as well as the iranian revolutionary guard. south korea and japan, to of grandpa's major trading partners have taken action to limit
financial links with iran. other nations imposed additional measures and in a very significant step, russia canceled the sale of its long- range defense missile system. coupled with mistakes and difficulties, they have slowed iran's nuclear efforts. the efforts have been more costly to acquire key materials for its enrichment programs. in may have 2011, a report concluded that sanctions are slowing of the nuclear program. in 2007, the head of the atomic organization said iran would have 50,000 centrifuges installed in four years. we're nearing the end of 2011 and reports that iran has
installed centrifuges withdrawn 6000 operating right now. not only is it important for iran to proceed but it is more expensive. as many studies suggested, it would be far more efficient for them to purchase fuel and the international market than develop an indigenous capability. remarkably, iran continues to make huge investments, most of them unpublished even as a cut back on support and investment and its economy and people. this is the larger context of the report. we were not surprised by the report because it confirmed everything we of known since the first day the president took office. the report is consistent with the analysis that has shaped our entire approach since january of 2009. we already do iran had an effort to develop technologies until 2003. in the words of the report, the
activity relevant to the report may still be on going. the facts are undeniable. despite the iranian the nile and the seat and not withstanding the setbacks, it is clear the world to see the government of iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability. put simply, the iranian regime is not fundamentally alter its behavior but we succeeded in slowing its nuclear program in the international community has the means to affect the calculus of iran's leaders who must know they cannot evade or avoid the choice we have laid before them. we will contend to use every tool was other -- at our disposal to continue pressure on the regime and sharpen the choice they must make. lead to be vigilant and we will be. we will work aggressively to detect nuclear efforts and force them under international inspections just as i did
earlier. thus denying iran the option of using the facility to secretly produced enriched uranium. with inspectors still on the ground, and the iranian effort to divert safeguarded material would be detected before iran could use the material to produce a significant quality -- significant quantity of enriched uranium. secretary clinton and tiger announced additional steps we have taken. we are targeting iran's petrochemical sector, where of rising penalties against any person or entity engaged in such activity and expanding energy sanctions, making it more difficult for them to modernize and maintain its oil and gas sector. we have designated the entire range banking sector as a jurisdiction of primary money
laundering concern, detailing extensive deceptive practices across the iranian financial sector, including by the central bank of iran, making clear the grave risk faced by government and other financial institutions that continue to do business with the iranian banks. we've not ruled out additional steps, including against the central bank of iran. as we do this, we're not taking any options off the table. this leads me to the larger point i wanted to make today. that is something i've wanted to discuss publicly for some time, the extraordinary isolation iran finds itself in today. even as to rand refuses to engage in the stabilizing behavior, iran is weaker, more isolated and were vulnerable and badly discredited more than ever. compared to and if president obama took office, iran is
greatly diminished a around the region and at home as a result of choices made by its leadership. i will discuss the situation domestically -- at home, iran is feeling tremendous pressure. it is hard for them to gauge in international finance. the president called it a the heaviest economic assault in the country's history. our agreements are being monitored and blocked and our banks cannot make international transactions. it's becoming exceedingly difficult for iran to deal in euros or dollars anywhere in the world and is becoming increasingly difficult for them to deal with a legitimate banking system. we have made it harder for the iranian government to purchase refined petroleum or goods to further develop their gas sector. according to the oil minister, country is facing a shortage of
$100 million that will surely affect future revenues. other sectors are being affected as well. major companies like shell, toyota, at deutsche bank, and a long list have ended or drastically reduced business with iran as a result of decisions made by the iranian leadership. the impact of sanctions is compounded by will rampant corruption. the islamic revolutionary guard continues to expand its involvement. at time when the iranian people are being squeezed, their coffers are being filled and the funds are being passed on to the violent movements in iraq, syria and yemen. this adds to their economic woes and as a result, the economy in iran is increasingly vulnerable and inflation is around 20%. unemployment is persistently
high. contrary to what has been written, despite higher oil prices, iran will have negligible economic growth this year. these are the heavy costs they have chosen to impose on their people by flooding their obligations. the economic difficulties are one more challenge to a regime that has seen its legitimacy suffer. the brutal response to the green movement two years ago revealed the hollowness of the government. the claim has withdrawn from its populist principles. this regime offers nothing to its population. is the same ingredients that fueled the air of spring. the regime is increasingly divided under great an extraordinary stress and is an increasingly and dramatically visible to observers outside
iran. the supreme leader and its president seem headed toward a confrontation over the direction of the country in the supreme leader has talked about consolidating his power further by abolishing the office of the presidency and we see fishers of developing among the ruling class and the regime is focused on preserving its rain at all costs. just as the regime is increasingly isolated, iran is increasingly isolated in the region. the regional balance of power is tipping and i know there are those in this room who disagree with that assessment. next door, iran has failed to shake iraq into a client state in its own image. in fact, iraqis are moving in the opposite direction. i saw your testimony in the house last week on this and i have some responses to it.
i am reading your testimony. iran and iraq have a very different visions of their future. iraqis are moving in the opposite direction of any client state iran may be trying to establish, building a sovereign and democratic state and one recent poll found just 14% of iraqis have a favorable opinion of iran. there is a nationalist dynamic at work here. even the -- there are unfavorable opinions of our -- of iran by margins of 321. even as we finish moving our forces, we remain steadfast and committed to a long-term
strategic partnership with iran, including robust security cooperation which will help insure iran remains a strong and independent player in the world and on december 12th, the prime minister is coming to the united states and we will underscore the brett and that that the united states going forward that the united states is building with iraq as a close partner in the region. critically, robust security cooperation. iran has failed to intimidate the gulf states to yielding to iranian dominance and indeed, i think iranian contact, and i have spent a lot of time working on this has cost countries to unify as never before in resisting iran.
the gulf preparation council states are more united than ever and more willing to challenge to iran. iran has failed in its efforts to take advantage of the arabs bring and to put it mildly, the arabs bring has been unkind to iran. you cannot imagine narratives that contrast more. it caught iranian leaders flatfooted and unprepared. evidence from tunis to domestic has made a lie that claims can only come to violent resistance and meanwhile, the iranian regime's hypocrisy has been exposed as they purport to celebrate these uprisings by crushing dissent at home. just like al qaeda, and this has presented a fundamental narrative challenge to al qaeda, iran's model of extremism and denial of human rights is being repeated by dart -- by generation demanding universal
rights by taking to the streets. young people in tunisia, egypt and syria are not protesting to be more like iran. not surprisingly, data and polling consistently shows iran's standing in the region has plummeted. iran's favorability stood at about 80% generally but is down to an average of below 30%. the most common reasons for this are there crossing of dissent at home, its meddling in their region and cementing that sectarian conflict and pursuit of nuclear programs. rather than looking to iran, people in the arab countries are looking in the opposite direction toward the goal -- toward universal rights and democracy. president obama has placed the u.s. firmly on the right side of history to promote reform and
support transition to democracy. today, in the face of a region united against teheran, iran is down to two principal remaining allies. in syria and hezbollah. like iran, they are fundamentally at odds with the forces now sweeping the region. the most important ally is the early isolated and years we condemned. the arab league has shown remarkable leadership and taken the extraordinary step of suspending syria's membership. in turkey, the government which spent a decade be putting its ties to syria says it will no longer be fooled by the promises and the prime minister joined an
international chorus calling for him to step down. the handwriting is on the wall and change is inevitable. as president obama has said, he is ensuring he and his regime will be left with the past and the courageous syrian people have demonstrated and determine their future. what does this mean analytically? it would constitute the greatest setback in their region, a strategic blow that would further shift the balance of power against iran. having the actively unfunded and assisted in a very material way, the machines through -- the regime's brutality, iran would be discredited in the eyes of the people. iran's isolation will deepen and their ability to project violence and instability will live on through violent proxies'. that will be vastly to and love--- vastly diminished.
iran is isolated from the international community. more nations than ever are enforcing and imposing sanctions as they are looking around and finding fewer friends and protectors. its leaders have taken a great nation and ancient civilization and turned it into a pariah state unable to integrate or engage with the rest of the world. this is a tragedy. three recent events illustrate just how isolated they have become. first, in the wake of the iaea report, the board of governors overwhelmingly voted to demand iran take steps to address concerns raised in the report. 32 nations voted to demand iran fill its obligations and only two countries cited with iran -- cuba and ecuador. second, iran has been further isolated by the plot to assassinate the saudi ambassador here in washington. i have to confess i was
initially struck by the reaction at some quarters -- those who would look at the plot and say is this how iran operates? this is not how they operate? as those of you in this room knows so well and those who have followed history for the last 30 years, this is exactly how iran has operated. the latest example of their support of terrorism. it would take a whole nother speech to lay this out. but you do not need this history lesson. nor was this the plot of some low-level figure. our information confirms iranian officials overseeing the plots were officials with the anti- terrorist arm of iran headed by the major general. he is armed, trained, and funded
to terrorists in iraq and american -- and to attack american personnel. we are very familiar with this group and deal with it every day. faced with these facts, the international community is taking action to hold iran accountable. the treasury department has imposed sanctions. our canadian and european allies have joined us. last week, the general assembly voted on friday overwhelmingly to deplore iran's behavior and the plot against the saudi ambassador. 106 nations boded against -- just eight countries voting with iran. not a single muslim or arab nations voted with them. not one. for an islamic republic that once imagined itself as a leader, the repudiation and isolation could not be more complete.
third, just yesterday, at the united nations, member states voted to condemn iran's human rights records. indeed, iran posset human-rights are subject to u.n. monitoring. weakened at home, diminished in the region, and isolated in the world, this is a dramatic shift in iran's fortunes. this -- we have succeeded in changing the dynamic that was at work when president obama came into office. three years ago, the iranian leadership was largely united. three years ago, the international community was divided on how to proceed and now we have forged an unprecedented degree to which they must be held accountable. three years ago, it was uncertain whether additional pressure could be brought to bear on to run. today, they are subject to as
broad and a strong sanctions, further contributing to their weakness. responsiblers are for the predicament they find themselves then. have the powerrs to choose a different course. the onus is on iran. teheran can choose a different direction. as to seize the opportunities before it. if iran does not change its course, pressure will grow. working with allies and partners, we will continue to increase sanctions and build a defense architecture preventing them from threatening their neighbors and continue to deepen their isolation regionally and globally even as the door to diplomacy remains open. the pressure is a means and not
an end. we are determined to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. as president obama has said, we stand with the iranian people. they deserve a government that put their ambitions at of nuclear ambitions and a normal relationship with the rest of the world, including the united states. the iranian people can benefit from the trade of a global economy. the iranian people deserve a future worth the of their past as a great civilization and that they will come sooner when the regime abandons its reckless pursuit of a nuclear program that does nothing for its people but endangers the security of the world. thank you for your patience and a look forward to a couple of questions. [applause] >> thank you very much. before bringing this session to a close, i am going to put a
question to you that i suspect reflects at least some of the thinking and curiosity in the room. you have made a very powerful statement of the coordinated policies of the united states and international community have imposed a world of hurt, not to mention discredit and isolation on iran but has not yet succeeded in getting iran to alter its nuclear behavior. what do you think the chances are of that policy succeeding? what is it going to take to get picked the necessary degree of support from the chinese and russians? >> with respect to the chances for success, given the severity of the challenge and a threat, we owe it to ourselves to pursue every option year and to pursue the multi dimensional reenforcing steps we're taking.
what we require is persistence, unity and we have put a very high premium on unity and indeed we believe that is something the iranian people can see and we think it has an effect when they see they are more isolated than ever. it needs to be multidimensional and i think we cannot take any options off the table. over time, the goal would be to raise the price and forced choice. that is what we are going to do. with respect to the russians and chinese, we have had good coordination and cooperation. they have supported us on our international sanctions efforts and enforced those efforts faithfully. they have been very good partners, frankly, as we have built about this unified effort to force the choice on the iranian regime. >> thank you very much.
we noticed the brookings folks have put out to suggestions on issues that might -- you might come back and talk to us about. we will stay in touch. could i ask everyone to please keep your seat while i escort tom out of the building so that he can get to the white house? [applause] >> friday afternoon, here on c- span, a debate on the legality of military actions undertaken by president george of the bush and a barack obama. ralph nader and the center for the city of responsive law hosted the discussion. that's friday afternoon at 4:00
eastern on c-span. >> there was a flood in fort wayne. people were billing the sandbags, desperately trying to keep the river. air force one stop, reagan had a motorcade and my memory is he filled up three sandbags, said hello to everyone, got back in the car and went back on the plane. but that night, what filled the airwaves was not three sandbags but reagan filling sandbags with his shirt off. >> sam donaldson, andrea missile -- andrea mitchell, and chris dodd talk about the legacy of ronald reagan. astronaut john glenn, neil armstrong, buzz aldrin and michael collins are awarded the congressional gold medal. for the entire thing skidding day schedule, go to c-span.org.
>> -- the entire thanksgivings day schedule. >> mitt romney is making his second campaign stop in iowa this month. we will show you his speech. after that, ron paul is answering questions from the paper's editorial board. see both debates, beginning tonight at 8:00, on c-span. >> now, a discussion on america pause changing demographics 2012 elections. we will hear about voting trends about minorities, working-class whites and college educated whites. this is one hour and a half. >>
>> the demographic shifts for this country, as i documented over the years, and as we document again in this newspaper are very much in favor of the democrats and will help obama in the 2012 elections. you could argue we have a sort of showdown of demographics verses economics. this paper discusses that in a number of different ways. we look at the national picture to see how those equations might workout and then we look at 12 target states the parties will be fighting about. we will get into what those are in just a minute. first, let's look at the national situation. these are the minorities, white
collar graduates in the united states. there are a lot of ways to divide the electorate but this is useful. it shows a split between obama and mccain among these three groups. obama carried the minority group. he lost white college graduates by only four points and lost the white working class by 18 points. look at what is going to happen with the shared changes. that is obama's worst group. there are some important numbers to keep in mind as we think about what's going to happen in 2012. thinking about minorities, there will be 20% minority voters.
he got 80% in 2008. a conservative assumption would be you get 75% of the minority vote. you would expect some slippage in 2012 due to the economic situation, but we think he can get 75% of the minority vote with this share of voters who are minorities. have anotherng to percentage point -- if he gets 75% of the minority vote, which is a decline from 2008, if he maintains those support levels among white college graduates and the white working-class, he will still get elected by about the same margin he did in 2008. of course, that is not likely to happen.
what if the white working-class here, he slips to a 30 point deficit as the democrats had in 2010 in their wipeout election? he would still get elected in that scenario if he maintains that roughly 40% support level. he can sustain a wipe out among the white working class, provided he maintains his white college graduate vote. what if that falls as well for about, which may indeed happen? he's looking decent in recent polls. our calculations are he could do as badly as john kerry did in 2004. he could do as badly, lose the white working-class by 23 points, lose a white college graduates by 11 points and still won the popular vote.
that is a reasonable target for obama. is a target he may not be able to reach depending on how the campaign works out. that is the national situation. as we know, the national situation is not how presidential elections are decided. we only have to go back to 2000. there are instances when the popular vote does not predict the electoral vote majority. in the end, it comes down to the states. the issue becomes where can obama assemble 270? we basically look at the battle ground in the appalling way. there are 12 states here we believe will be a battleground states in 2012. we give obama 14 of the 18 states the democrats of carried since 1992 plus the district of
columbia. that amounts to 186 electoral votes. we give the republicans but 22 states they carried in 2008 plus in the act and nebraska for a core vote of 191. this is what is left except for new hampshire, which we don't discuss here. we put them into these three buckets. the rest belt states bear -- we've got our three southwest states and our new south states. 80 electoral votes in the united states. 57 in the three new south states. that is what it is going to be about -- fighting over those states. all of those states have different demographics.
there are certain things they have in common with in these three regions, so let me talk about that. about i'm going to talk in the context of trying to look at a specific state in a specific region. this is the state of ohio. the much fought over state of ohio. here is the basic data down here for how the presidential alexian work out in 2008. obama got 83% of the minority vote and split the white college graduate vote, which most people probably don't know. and lost the white working-class but 10 points. this is broadly consistent with the general pattern in the midwest which is that we have relatively low percentage of minority votes. minority votes. then you have white